The Music Of The Hills

Friday, August 9, 2013
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Unto The Hills Around Do I Lift Up"1 (Lyrics)

Psalm 121:1-2 – I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (NIV)

Several summers ago, when a friend and I were on a cruise to the Holy Land, everything got changed all of a sudden — a bomb blew up at the dock at our original destination. We all had to go a different way up into Jerusalem by bus. I will never forget it. Our route was completely changed, so we were actually climbing a very long, high hill. It felt like we were ascending on a back road up a high mountain. Jerusalem really is situated on a high hill, above everything else. I wondered what it was like years ago to walk with a group of pilgrims up into Jerusalem singing a psalm of praise as they lifted up their eyes to the hills.

We sure wanted to see Jerusalem, but there we were on a lengthy bus ride up a back road toward the Mount of Olives. It was quite a climb, but we finally could look down towards the holy places. I especially noted the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus struggled through the night. John Douglas Campbell, Duke of Argyll, the author of the hymn "Unto the hills", must have felt that same spiritual ascendancy speaking to him.

    Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes:
    O whence for me shall my salvation come, from whence arise?
    From God the Lord doth come my certain aid,
    From God the Lord Who heaven and earth hath made.

For me, singing the Scriptures, especially the Psalms, brings me close to God in many more ways than climbing a sacred hill. It also involves lifting up my eyes off myself and onto God. Every note that resounds in the praise of God opens me to the glory of God. The Psalms especially tell of a people's longing to worship their God, to praise His name. You can tell that I sing in a choir, eh? I also play the organ and piano. All my life, music has been my way of expressing my love and devotion to God. For me, music is the best way we have of expressing heavenly glory here on earth. It comes close to the sounds of heavenly praise when the angels sing around the throne of God.

We all have some means of expressing devotion to God — some in poetry, when sung or when played on a musical instrument. When a person is sharing with others in a special moment together before the Lord, we feel it. Every expression of God's glory takes us on a sacred journey to God's house, to a place of praise and worship: high, holy, and lifted up!

Often in our busy lives, we don't take enough sacred moments to sing to the glory of God. Praise of God can change a bitter moment to one of blessing. Singing to His glory can beautifully share God's presence with others, and praying together comes more easily to a tongue-tied person when music accompanies the words said. If our day feels empty and God is silent, let's sing a hymn at the top of our voice, and our feelings will change to expressions of praise for the day. Yes, music opens us to the presence of God.

Prayer: O Lord, we are too often silent, pressed down with caring about all we have to do. Release us, dear Lord, from the pressures we feel so that our souls may sing Your praises with a full heart. As You come into our lives today, we thank You with grateful hearts for Your presence. We acknowledge that all our expressions of Your praise, especially when music fills our hearts, enlarge our awareness of You. May our footsteps through this day follow the beat of the angels as we sing Your praises. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Iris Ford

1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for sharing Iris.

    Good stuff, Iris, as always.

    Singing is my favorite part of worship. May all our worship be a time of praise. Blessings.

    Thank you, Iris, for wonderfully blessing my day with your devotional.
    Blessings on you and your family.

    Thank you. That’s just the word I need. Those verses were shared with me when I was 19 but now, in my 60’s, they are real to me.

    Thank you, Iris for lifting us into the very presence of the LORD with such a wonderful inspiration. Please keep writing.

    Thank you for this beautiful devotional this morning.
    It was so uplifting.

    Dear Iris; What a powerful hymn ” Unto the hills” is. It is one of many of my favorite hymn’s.
    Job well done on today’s devotional. It is very uplifting.

    I can fully relate to your devotional today; my sentiments and thoughts, exactly. Singing to the Lord has been my way of worshipping Him as well. Thank you for this uplifting word. God bless you.

    I loved your devotional from today.
    I love singing at church. I am not in the choir, neither do I play an instrument, but I love singing to the LORD.
    A song that comes to my mind right now is IN CHRIST ALONE.
    I love that song. I love the old hymns too.
    Have a blessed day.

    Dear Ms. Ford,
    Thank you so much for this devotional. That is my favourite Psalm; possibly because when I was a very young child, my Grandmother took me to evening service at church with her. We sang that Psalm and it has stayed with me ever since. I always re-live my time with Grandma that evening in church.
    Years later, when I was married, I could look out my kitchen window and see the hills surrounding our neighbourhood! God is always with us.
    Thank you very much for all your devotionals. Each one always has a special message, which I feel is just for me.
    God bless you.

    Hi Iris;
    I still have to go to the Holy Land but I can identify with all you say about hymns. I truly believe that hymns make up for the quickest access to the worship of God. Be they coming from my Ipod, from the piano, or organ in church, I immediately feel closer to God. In fact hardly five percent of all the music I enjoy does not come from hymns. I was brought up by a mother who would call us to the piano at any time of the day and all seven of us would stand around the piano to sing hymns. More often than not without requiring notes or words.
    And for that reason I thoroughly enjoyed your devotional Iris.
    God bless you.

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