The Sleepless God

A few nights ago, Stacy and I watched a
movie. It was a “psychological thriller.” You
know, the type of movie where there is no real
overt action that frightens you (for the most
part). But there is burgeoning tension, always
aided and abetted by the musical score, of
course. Needless to say, Stacy and I did
some talking to the characters in the movie.
There may even have been a time or two
where sudden yelps burst forth from us.
The prime reason for our repeated
“conversations” with the on-screen actors was
that they displayed a paucity of common
sense—at least the main characters. They
were a married couple—with a dog—who had
just moved to a new state. Very soon after
moving, this unnerving guy (whom the
husband knew from high school) started
showing up at their house. Regularly. In
addition, as the movie went on, this guy
somehow gained access to the house. So,
throughout the bulk of the film, we had this
rising anxiety. The guy seemed to always be
there, and sometimes the couple did not know
it. Thus, had you been in (or maybe even
near) our house as Stacy and I were
watching, you likely would have heard
something like, “CALL THE POLICE,
PEOPLE!!” Many, many times.
And that’s the thing—with one exception
that occurred near the beginning of the series
of encounters with this guy, they never called
the police. They never looked in the right
places for help. Instead, they continued to try
and deal with the situation in their own way.
And, eventually, their lives were irrevocably
changed (for many reasons, not all of which
are pertinent to this article).

As human beings, we suffer from a
predisposition to try and do things on our
own. Most of us relish the thought of being
self-sufficient and independent. We like to
make our own way. We find satisfaction in
following our own course. Yet, the truth is
that none of us is fully equipped to do for
ourselves everything that needs to be
done. This is especially true when it comes
to spiritual trials. As much as we may not
want to admit it, the fact is that there are
scenarios and seasons in our lives for
which we have no response. No tricks up
our sleeves. No effective strategy. No
skillful maneuver. No riposte.
In Psalm 121, the psalmist opens with a
statement, then asks a crucial question, “I
lift up my eyes to the hills. From where
does my help come?” There is a lot of
potential for meaning in the first verse of
this psalm, and we will talk about it this
morning in the sermon. For now, it is
essential to note the willingness of the
psalmist to seek help in whatever this
situation may be. We do not know what
this ancient poet is facing, but we do know
that it has led him to a point where he
knows that help is necessary.
There surely are some of us this
morning who need help. We have possibly
looked in all directions, or we have tried
with all of our might to overcome what it is
that we are facing. But we cannot prevail.
Not on our own. If you are one for whom
this is true right now, the psalmist has the
answer, “My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.”

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