Sunday, January 13, 2019

I Lift My Eyes

There are no question marks in ancient Hebrew, so Psalm 121:1 is ambiguous. Older translations made it a statement, with verse 2 being a continuation of the same thought. Here are those two verses in the 16th century Geneva Bible (the later KJV is similar): 
I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains, from whence my help shall come. 
Mine help cometh from the Lord, which hath made the heaven and the earth. 
New translations, though, make verse 1 a question, with verse 2 being its answer, as here, in the NRSV:
I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Either way of looking at it is fine, I think, and there are different times in my life that I might appreciate first one and then the other translation. When times are tough but faith is firm, then I can look confidently to the hills and know that my hope is no less firm than the tallest mountain on earth. But when times are difficult, and I am filled with doubt, then I might look to the oldest of hills and question where God is. And that's okay, because when faith is earnestly sought, God is never as far away as I might perceive God to be, as v. 2 reminds me.

So whether verse 2 is the answer to my question or the continuation of my affirmation, it is wonderful news. The God who created all that is knows who I am and is there for me.

Lord, ever watchful and faithful, I look to you to be my defense, and I lift up my heart that I may know your help; through Jesus Christ, who taught me to pray...
 Celebrating Common Prayer, Soc. of St. Francis (alt.)