Sunday, 28 August 2016
Psalm 121 - God is our helper
Psalm 121:1-2 "I will lift up my eyes to the hills - from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth." NKJV
This is one of the most frequently quoted Psalms. These first two verses were carved into the wooden wall above where my Grandmother's casket lay at the funeral home. Why wait until it is too late to appreciate God's wisdom.
The first Hebrew word of the psalm is "Esa" which means (I will) lift, carry, take, or bear (as a burden). What are we lifting and where are we lifting it? My eyes to the hills. The Hebrew word "Ay" (aleph-yud) is an interrogative adverb, "where?" We do the same in English to ask "what?" The "ma" in front is the preposition appended to the "ayn" which means "from." So the word itself means "from where." The rest of the question is "does my help come (the prophet Ezra's name means "helper"). Ezri means "my help?"
The upside-down wishbone (Etnachta to Ashkenazis and Atnah to Sephardis) is a musical mark that indicates where the singers would pause (like a comma when reading) to let the first part of the verse sink in and before singing the second part. Almost every verse of the Hebrew Scriptures has one. We can see this division clearly in verse one.
High places are referred to throughout Scripture as the preferred place of worship and the presence of God. For example:
Isaiah 2:3 "Many people shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob'" NKJV
We know the Lord is our helper. Both Psalm 40 and Psalm 70 end with the same phrase,
Psalm 70:5 "You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay." NKJV
Let's remember to turn to God every day (not just in the day of calamity). In Hebrew we say, "Al Tish'kach" which means, "Don't forget."
Rabbi Michael Weiner,