It’s not only the height and breadth of a mountain that speaks but also its stature of permanence. That which we consider ancient is “as old as the hills,” and to do the impossible is “to move mountains.” Mountains so easily yield metaphors, because they have been there, cannot be moved, and continue to endure. And this is where the psalmist starts in the one hundred twenty-fifth psalm, pointing to a mountain known to all of Israel, Mount Zion, and speaking to the often unsettled and fearful, saying: Those who trust in the Lord are stable and secure.
As we see in this psalm, part of worship is acknowledging that God is bigger than our problems, whether man or nature. Part of this worship is recalling and reflecting on how God has helped us in our time of need. Corporate worship includes doing this together, often by singing. Whether it be psalms like this one, or hymns, or songs, in corporate worship we sing together, “making melody to the Lord from [the] heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:19b-20). Surely, St. Augustine was right in saying, “He who sings prays twice.” As our psalms, hymns, and songs are in effect sung prayers, so our singing echoes the praise of our hearts. As we sing in corporate worship, we often read and repeat words, not mindlessly but redemptively. The words, so to speak, liturgically lead us, and we sing them in worship, meditating upon their meaning, singing of their significance.
In Christ, we are promised many things, including this: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:10). By grace through faith, if we are in Christ, then for Christ we will be treated with contempt, scorned for our faithfulness. For the Christian, persecution is not the consequence of a lack of faith but evidence of it.
Of the many things we take for granted in the Christian life, worship is certainly one of the greatest, which is quite curious given the privilege we have been given. In his song of deliverance, David describes the Lord as “worthy to be praised” (2 Sam. 22:4), further confirmed by John’s revelation of the throne room of heaven, where those who cast their crowns before the Lord cry out, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God” (Rev. 4:11). If God is worthy of earthly and heavenly, universal and eternal, praise then worship is not only a necessity for all of creation but is a privilege of the people of God.
He “who made heaven and earth,” who neither slumbers nor sleeps, who shields us both day and night from all harm, is the LORD who will keep you “from this time forth and forevermore.” For Christ our Lord and keeper has redeemed us, saved us from our enemies of sin and death, given us life by his Holy Spirit, and guaranteed us eternal life in his kingdom. We do not look outward to the hills or inward to ourselves but to Christ alone, for he is our keeper, forevermore.