날짜: 2018년 9월 2일
제목: 우리 도움은 어디서 오는가?
올리브연합감리교회 김배선 목사
20180902 Sunday Worship Sermon
“Where does our help come from?”
It has been a few weeks since I preached the Sunday worship service.
It is always a fearful and trembling experience to stand and preach at the pulpit, but I also know that it is also a fear and concern for a pastor not to preach before you.
However, from the viewpoint of the congregation, it can be said that listening to other pastors' words at times, will be a way to experience more abundant grace.
For the past two weeks, I believe you have certainly had such abundant grace.
Today is the first Sunday of September.
September always reminds me of the autumn season.
In September, where the change of season is clear, you can already feel autumn.
When I visited Virginia two weeks ago, I could already feel the fall season in the morning and evening.
Since I came to Hawaii, the fall was one of the seasons I missed.
However, in Hawaii, it is a pity that I am unable to experience fall.
Rather, we are experiencing hot weather and heavy rains.
I heard that there was a lot of rain and damage in Hawaii while I was in California last week.
Only a short time ago, Hurricane "Lane" was causing fear throughout Hawaii.
Fortunately, the hurricane has disappeared without great damage, but everyone was nervous and fearful.
Hurricane as well as tsunami, volcanic eruption, drought... these natural issues are a source of great fear for us in Hawaii.
Therefore, we prepare for various disasters.
In addition to natural disasters, we prepare various measures and prepare for the various emergency situations.
Today we read Psalm 121.
I personally love to read and meditate today’s text.
Whenever I am in danger, trouble or fear, I receive consolation and strength through repeating today’s text, Psalm 121.
Brothers and sisters, most people want to feel safe, comfortable from danger and struggle.
We, human beings, protecting ourselves is natural.
We want to know and seek who or what will protect us.
If so, who or what keeps us from danger?
Where does our comfort and safety really come from?
Does it come from the police or soldiers?
Yes, probably… but they are not perfect.
Does our safety come from a firearm?
As you know, firearm accidents happen many times in the US.
So, the voice about the gun control is rising higher these days.
However, the opponent’s opinion is also strong.
Their logic is this; “a gun can keep themselves and their family from danger.”
What do you think about this?
Do you think that the firearm can keep you safe from any danger?
I don’t think so.
Rather, due to the firearm, the fear and insecurity will be increased more and more in this world.
Does our comfort and safety come from politicians?
Will our mayor, governor, and president really protect us?
Well, I don’t think so.
Some people have many kinds of insurance for their safety or they have many saving accounts for a comfortable future.
Of course, these are probably useful to protect us from unexpected risks.
However, it is also temporary methods.
Our safety and comfort do not come from money or any insurance.
Sometimes, we ask someone to help us when we experience difficulty.
But, most of us may experience disappointment when we ask someone to help us.
It is because we human beings are limited.
If we turn to people for help, more often than not, we will be disappointed.
Therefore, where does our help come from?
How can we be assured of peace and safety?
Today’s text shows us the answer to this question.
Let me read today’s text again with the message version.
I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
He won’t let you stumble,
your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s
Guardian will never doze or sleep.
God’s your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
sheltering you from moonstroke.
God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always.
The title of Psalm 121 is “A song of ascents.”
Yes, this Psalm 121 was a song for the pilgrims who were ascending to Jerusalem.
In our text, we read a Psalm that the Israelites would often sing while making their yearly journey to Jerusalem.
For many of them, it was a long and unsettled journey toward Jerusalem.
Sometimes, they met dangerous situations during the journey to Jerusalem.
They might get the threat of wild animals.
Sometimes, they lost the way to go due to the extreme weather.
Sometimes, they were deprived of all that they had and got hurt because of a thief.
Yes, there were many things that could go wrong and many bad things that could happen.
They had many reasons to fear.
They might have wanted to feel safe and protected.
So, they would sing this song, Psalm 121.
The main theme of this song is very simple, but very important.
It is about the Lord, our God who keeps, protects and shelters people.
The Psalmist asks in verse 1, “Where does my help come from?”
Also the Psalmist answers the question in verse 2,
“My help comes from the Lord”
What a wonderful confession it is!
These verses are a summary of the core theme of faith.
This is an important confession and theme not only for the Israelites, but also for us today.
And, the question concerns how God protects and shelters us from danger.
In verses 3 through 8, we can hear in detail how God protects and shelters the Israelites in times of danger.
We see that God protects the Israelites by keeping them from falling.
We also see that God protects the Israelites by sheltering them from difficult circumstances, and we see that God protects the Israelites by defending them against fear.
In Biblical days, for the travelers on the way toward Jerusalem, there were many dangers and difficult circumstances.
Sometimes, they might have struggled with thirst from the burning sun.
Sometimes, they might have met unexpected enemies.
These might have made them weak and fearful.
However, God is aware of every step which people take in their journey, and God is able to nourish people when their feet would slip.
God knew the dangers, weaknesses, difficult circumstances, and fears of the Israelites.
For them, God was the one who never slept nor slumbered.
They trusted God.
Their eyes were focused on the Lord.
They surely knew the fact that God would make their way and shelter them.
Yes, we need the same assurance and trust today.
God knows our circumstances more closely than anyone else.
God knows our difficulties and the fears which we hold.
Therefore, God knows well what we need and how we can get the strength.
We need God’s protection now more than ever.
What are the difficult circumstances in your life?
What troubles you?
Perhaps some of you have troubles with your family members.
Maybe the circumstances of your health or your financial problems make you fearful.
Some of you have troubles with physical disease.
And some of you have troubles with spiritual depression.
Whatever your circumstances may be, God knows them intimately.
God will protect you and promises to help you under any circumstances.
Today’s text teaches us this.
It is of great comfort and freedom for us that God is watching and protecting us.
However, some say that it is a burden that God is watching our every moment.
Do you think so?
If so, let’s think about this.
There is a life guard at the beach.
The life guard is always watching people.
To salvage people immediately in danger the life guard is watching without missing a moment.
Then, with the perspective of a swimmer, is it burden that the life guard watches them?
“Why is the life guard watching me continually? I feel uncomfortable. I don’t like that he is watching me…”
Do you agree with this?
I don’t think so.
Rather, we can enjoy the time, swimming freely because the life guard is watching us.
We can feel comfortable because we have confidence that the life guard is keeping us from danger.
God is watching us and keeping us from danger.
This is not a burden for us but a comfort and joy.
Yes, I want you to have confidence that the Lord will protect you and promises to help you under any circumstances.
I want to share another experience with you.
When I was in Korea, I used to go up the mountains almost once a month.
One day, I went up a mountain which had a dangerous trail.
Toward nightfall, while climbing down the mountain, I lost my way.
I couldn’t find anyone to help me.
It was growing dark, more and more.
Suddenly, I felt fear.
It seemed that there was nothing for me to do.
I tried to calm my mind and closed my eyes.
And I prayed to God.
At that moment, the words of Psalm 121 flashed into my mind.
I turned my eyes and ears to God.
Then I could feel that the fear had faded away, and I also had an assurance that God would make my way.
Of course, I came down the mountain safely.
Brothers and sisters, our lives are like a journey toward Jerusalem.
Our life journey is like climbing up and down the mountain.
Sometimes, there are dangers in our life.
Sometimes, we meet difficult circumstances that we don’t expect.
Sometimes, we feel that our minds are filled with fear.
God will protect you and promises to help you under any circumstance, because God really loves you all.
God considers each of you as a precious child, whatever condition you are in, because you are children of God.
Do you have any difficulty, sorrow, or fear in your life?
Bring them all and trust the Lord, our God who protects, guides, and shelters you.
I want you to trust God.
Where does our help come from?
We knew the answer already.
Our help comes from God.
Only in God, we are safe and comfortable.
When we turn our eyes to God, when we trust God, when we stay in God, God will keep us from danger, shelter us from difficult circumstances, and defend us against fear.
God will make your way.
Do you have troubles or fears in your life these days?
Turn your eyes to the Lord, our God.
I would like to ask you again “Where does our help come from?”
Yes, “Our help comes from the Lord, our God” Amen.