Long ago, David wrote these words:
“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.” (Psalm 121:1-2)
I used to think that that as David looked upon the hills that partially surround Jerusalem, he saw them as a symbol of God’s protection and assistance. However, there is slightly different way to look at this and it has something to do with that area of Jerusalem that has no hills. Because Jerusalem is surrounded on the east, south and west by hills and mountains, the hills create valleys between them and the city. In other words, there are natural barriers offering protection from aggressors on the east, the south and the west.
However, on the north side of the city there are no mountains, hills or deep valleys and, consequently, no natural barrier that would impede an invading force. It was especially apparent in ancient times that Jerusalem was protected on every side but the north. This is why David and other kings after him built watchtowers and fortifications on the north side of the city. Couple this with the fact that when Jerusalem was attacked by foreigners, it was almost always attacked from the north. It is in the north that Jerusalem was the weakest and relatively unprotected.
Consider then that David acknowledged the Lord as the Creator of heaven and earth, meaning that when He created the environs of Jerusalem, He formed natural barriers on its east, on its south and on its west sides. Apparently, God intentionally left this piece of ground unprotected on the north side. So perhaps when David wrote this song, his reference to the hills around Jerusalem was to acknowledge, as any good king or general would, that there are natural barriers that would help him in defense of the city. But on the north, where he was weak and unprotected, his only means of defense was the Lord. He looked to the Lord as his only protection where he was weak because where he was weak, the Lord was strong. Psalm 48:1-3 says:
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is in her palaces; He is known as her refuge.”
This seems to hint that the Creator would dwell in the north and, from there, He would watch over His people. In fact, Job alludes to God dwelling in the north and in Isaiah 14:13-14, Lucifer says:
“I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”
Collectively, these verses seem to suggest that it’s in the north where the Creator resides and that’s exactly where Jerusalem was weak and undefended. Where He had not created a natural barrier, He became the obstacle that any enemy would have to overcome if they were to come against Jerusalem. Where Jerusalem was weak was exactly where the Lord defended them. Therefore, could we not conclude that when an enemy came from the north and successfully sacked Jerusalem, it was indicative that God was not protecting them at that point in time? In other words, when the walls of Jerusalem were compromised it was because the people had fallen into unbelief and in sin?
Now relating this to us: like Jerusalem’s hills that surrounded her, there are strengths each of us possess that we know can be depended upon to see us through a tough situation. But like Jerusalem, we also have weaknesses; those places where we’re vulnerable. These are the areas of our life that are likely to be attacked when the enemy comes against us. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to pay special attention to those weak spots. Typically, the adversary doesn’t attack us where we’re strong but where we’re weak. If we disregard or ignore those weak areas in our life, the Adversary will certainly try to exploit them. Without God’s protection, the strongman would be able to come into our house and spoil our goods.
So when we are being attacked in our weaker areas, perhaps it’s an indication that we have let our guard down. Perhaps its an indication that we need to get our focus upon the One who is our help – the maker of heaven and earth. So as we consider our strengths, we must also recognize our weaknesses. We shouldn’t emphasize them, but we shouldn’t ignore them either. Furthermore, we must acknowledge that in our weakened state, our only help comes from the Lord. He alone defends and protects us in our weakness when we are walking upright before Him. In that weakness, His strength is perfected. And so then, as Paul said, “we will glory in our weaknesses.” Why? That the Spirit of Messiah may rest upon us!
Whatever you’re going through, have been going through or will be going through, just know that in your weakness He is strong.