Psalms 121:1: “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help?”
Mark 13:14: “But when you see the abomination of desolations spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, let him that readeth understand, then let them be that be in Judea flee to the mountains.”
The expression, head for the hills is an ancient expression, taking on various forms as flee to the hills, run for the mountain. etc. The word in the Hebrew har means mountain and not really a hill. Yet, for that matter when does a hill become a mountain? I guess I am getting too technical. In fact this expression flee for the hills is an ancient Hebrew idiomatic expression. The hills where a traditional place of safety during the time of invasion, particularly if the enemy were approaching by ship. This idiom seems to be the one used in Mark 13:14 where the writer is not literally saying run to the mountains, but run to a place of safety. A common farewell express in the ancient times to a soldier or one undertaking a journey was Look to the hills which is a way of saying: Be safe or have a safe journey.
The words from whence cometh my help? is in an interrogative form. So what David is actually saying in Psalms 121:1 is: I will look to the mountains, a place of safety, but yet, where will my help come? In other words the traditional place of safety provided in this natural world is not going to cut it. We need something more.
You lose your job what is your first thought: “How much severance will I get, how much will I get in unemployment, how much savings do I have?” In other words you are looking to the mountains. For most people their first thought is to look to the mountains. David’s first thoughts were not to look to the mountains. The enemy will eventually find you in the mountains. The severance pay, savings and unemployment insurance will not last forever.
Take a look at these words from whence as in from whence comes my help. From whence is the word a’in with the preposition mem. Now this is not the word ayin’ that we all know and love, this is a’in spell with an Aleph which means, nothing, no, not, nonexistent. David is saying that he looks to the mountains, the traditional place of safety, refuge, or hiding, but there is nothing there, there is no help there.
So we enter our latest crisis and what are our first thoughts, it is to run and hide. But, you know what, you can hide from the barbarians for a while, but they will find you. What you really need is not a place of refuge. A refuge is good when a storm blows up, but soon the winds will end.
What happens when it is not a storm that you face, but a full blown crisis that will not blow over, it is matter that has to be addressed. The word help as used in Psalms 121:1 is ‘ezer which is spelled Ayin, Zayin, and Resh. All your lexicons and dictionaries will tell you is that word means to aid or help.
That is all well and good, I think we can admit that in some situations or crisis we are not going to find our help in help in the natural world, the common places of safety. There are times we really need help or the ‘ezer help of the Lord. The question is how do I get it?
Well it’s getting late, the lights are out so I push the button on my watch to turn on its little light so I can see the time and I think about the Superman comic books I read as a child and how Superman’s friend Jimmy Olsen was given a signal watch. If he was in trouble he would just push a button on his watch and Superman would appear to rescue him. I think I am half asleep because I push the light button again thinking Jesus will appear to help me out. But instead what appears are three Hebrew letters standing on top of my Hebrew Bible. They are the letters Ayin Zayin and Resh and they are dressed in white tights, white mask, and a cape and suddenly they fly right off my Hebrew Bible.
“Great,” I said disgustedly, “Jimmy Olsen at least got Superman, what do I get? Three Hebrew letters, dressed like Zorro in white carrying a saber. What kind of super heroes are you anyways?” “Slay you malefactor” declared Ayin as poked me in the nose with his saber. “Ouch,” I cried “Cut that out, I am not the problem here.” Ayin, Zayin, and Resh looked at each other with a questioning look.
“You must come weeth us!” declared Zayin in some weird accent. Zayin appears to be shaped like a sword. So I followed my superheroes Ayin, Zayin and Resh, which I realize make up the word ‘ezer for help, through the Looking Glass hanging from the Daleth in my office. I suddenly find myself out in a desert valley. I look around and I can see nothing just my three Hebrew letter companions grinning at me. “Well, what are we doing here?” I asked. Suddenly I heard an awful roar and looked behind me and out behind a rock came the most hideous creature with horns. Each horn had a name, health problems, financial problems, job problems, “Ahhhhhh!” I scream, “It’s him, my worst nightmare, run to hills!” Ayin caught me by the shirt collar with the tip of his saber: “Alas” he said “But zee hills, they will not help thee. Only the ‘Ezer of the Master of the Universe can defeat zee monster.” “Yeah,” I respond disgustedly, “I don’t think any poke in the nose with that toothpick of yours will stop that beast.” “Ah,” said Ayin in triumph, “You have taken advantage of my knowledge.” I thought and realized that Ayin did represent deep insight and discernment. My first step to defeating this creature was to use the Ayin in ‘ezer – help to discern and to know that is was a job for God and God alone.
I looked over at Zayin and noticed how he looked so much like a sword. I then thought how the root word for Zayin means a weapon or war. Zayin approached me and said; “You are indeed right, no? I am zee weapon that God will use to defeat dis monster.” Ayin moved quickly by my side and whispered: “Remember what Rabbi Silverman once told you.” Ayin (spiritual insight) caused me to recall the words of an old rabbi friend of mine: “Zayin equals seven, seven represents completeness. We commonly think of six physical directions, with six directions we defeat the monsters in our lives.” What he was saying is that we must defeat this monster from the East, West, North, South, Up and Down. “But” he continued, “That is not complete, there is a seven direction that you must travel to defeat this monsters in your life and that is the Zayin only Zayin can defeat it.” I immediately thought of repentance and I repented for the hindrances I harbored in my heart. Before I had a chance to repent, however, Zayin became the sword that he appeared to be and stabbed me in my heart. Shocked I thought I was a goner, but then I realized that the Zayin Sword was in the hands of Resh which represents the Holy Spirit. It was a Spiritual sword that entered my heart, I felt nothing but peace and relief when Resh pulled the Zayin Sword out and with it were the words pride, fear, selfishness, self-sufficiency and faithlessness, all pieced through and hanging on Zayin like a Shish Kabob. I looked up at that hideous creature that was about to attack me and its horns of health problems, financial problems, and work related problems melted away and the creature went whimpering back behind his rock.
I asked Resh why he took hold of Zayin to remove those hindrances from me. Resh replied that He represented the Holy Spirit. I said I knew that but why would the Holy Spirit cleanse me. Resh said: “Because I, the Resh, also represented repentance.” Ayin spoke up and said: “Before we came here I poked you in the nose with my saber to get you to repent but you just didn’t get it. It took the Holy Spirit to convict you and when He did you let Resh and Zayin defeat those hindrances in you through your repentance. To get this help or ‘ezer from God you must realize that it is Resh (repentance) that picks up the Sword of Zayin and Resh (power of the Holy Spirit) that brings your help or ‘Ezer into action.