LOOKING UP TO THE HILLS C. H. Spurgeon
1. `I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.’ It is wise to look to the strong for strength. Dwellers in valleys are subject to many disorders for which there is no cure but a sojourn in the uplands, and it is well when they shake off their lethargy and resolve upon a climb. Down below they are the prey of marauders, and to escape from them the surest method is to fly to the strongholds upon the mountains. Often before the actual ascent the sick and plundered people looked towards the hills and longed to be upon their summits. The holy man who here sings a choice sonnet looked away from the slanderers by whom he was tormented to the Lord who saw all from His high places, and was ready to pour down succour for His injured servant. Help comes to saints only from above, they look elsewhere in vain: let us lift up our eyes with hope, expectancy, desire, and confidence. Satan will endeavour to keep our eyes upon our sorrows that we may be disquieted and discouraged; be it ours firmly
to resolve that we will look out and look up, for there is good cheer for the eyes, and they that lift up their eyes to the eternal hills shall soon have their hearts lifted up also. The purposes of God; the divine attributes; the immutable promises; the covenant, ordered in all things and sure; the providence, predestination, and proved faithfulness of the Lord – these are the hills to which we must lift up our eyes, for from these our help must come. It is our resolve that we will not be bandaged and blindfolded, but will lift up our eyes.
Or is the text in the interrogative? Does he ask, `Shall I lift up mine eyes to the hills?’ Does he feel that the highest places of the earth can afford him no shelter? Or does he renounce the idea of recruits hastening to his standard from the hardy mountaineers? and hence does he again enquire, `Whence cometh my help?’ If so, the next verse answers the question and shows whence all help must come.
2. `My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.’ What we need is help, – help powerful, efficient, constant: we need a very present help in trouble. What a mercy that we have it in our God. Our hope is in Jehovah, for our help comes from Him. Help is on the road, and will not fail to reach us in due time, for He who sends it to us was never known to be too late. Jehovah who created all things is equal to every emergency; heaven and earth are at the disposal of Him who made them, therefore let us be very joyful in our infinite Helper. He will sooner destroy heaven and earth than permit His people to be destroyed, and the perpetual hills themselves shall bow rather than He shall fail whose ways are everlasting. We are bound to look beyond heaven and earth to Him who made them both: it is vain to trust the creatures: it is wise to trust the Creator.
3. `He will not suffer thy foot to be moved.’ Though the paths of life are dangerous and difficult, yet we shall stand fast, for Jehovah will not permit our feet to slide; and if He will not suffer it we shall not suffer it. If our foot will be thus kept we may be sure that our head and heart will be preserved also. In the original the words express a wish or prayer, – ‘May He not suffer thy foot to be moved.’ Promised preservation should be the subject of perpetual prayer; and we may pray believingly; for those who have God for their keeper shall be safe from all the perils of the way. Among the hills and ravines of Palestine the literal keeping of the feet is a great mercy; but in the slippery ways of a tried and afflicted life, the boon of upholding is of priceless value, for a single false step might cause us a fall fraught with awful danger. To stand erect and pursue the even tenor of our way is a blessing which only God can give, which is worthy of the divine Hand, and worthy also of perennial gratitude. Our feet shall move in progress, but they shall not be moved to their overthrow. `He that keepeth thee will not slumber,’ – or ‘thy keeper shall not slumber.’ We should not stand a moment if our Keeper were to sleep; we need Him by day and by night; not a single step can be safely taken except under His guardian eye. This is a choice stanza in a pilgrim song. God is the convoy and body-guard of His saints. When dangers are awake around us we are safe, for our Preserver is awake also, and will not permit us to be taken unawares. No fatigue or exhaustion can cast our God into sleep; His watchful eyes are never closed.
4. `Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.’ The consoling truth must be repeated: it is too rich to be dismissed in a single line. It were well if we always imitated the sweet singer, and would dwell a little upon a choice doctrine, sucking the honey from it. What a glorious title is in the Hebrew – `The Keeper of Israel,’ and how delightful to think that no form of unconsciousness ever steals over Him, neither the deep slumber nor the lighter sleep. He will never suffer the house to be broken up by the silent thief; He is ever on the watch, and speedily perceives every intruder. This is a subject of wonder, a theme for attentive consideration, therefore the word `Behold’ is set up as a waymark. Israel fell asleep, but his God was awake. Jacob had neither walls, nor curtains, nor body-guard around him but the Lord was in that place though Jacob knew it not, and therefore the defenceless man was safe as in a castle.