Friday, November 10, 2017

"Looking for Help in All the Wrong Places"

Lamentations 4.17 NET

“Our eyes continually failed us as we looked in vain for help. From our watchtowers we watched for a nation that could not rescue us.”

Have “our eyes continually failed us?” We climbed to the top of “our watchtowers [and] we watched.” From our high perch we thought we could see farther and discover more. Somewhere out there was a solution to our troubles. But what we found “could not rescue us.” Did “our eyes” fail us? No. Our eyes were fine. We were just looking in all the wrong places.

The Hebrew text uses the double verb for emphasis. “From our watchtowers we watched” is literally “in our watching we have watched.” The verse suggests an intense investigation, not a casual observing. Jeremiah’s Jews needed rescuing from their evil oppressor Babylon. They were serious about getting help. But the help they desperately needed was not forthcoming because they were looking “for a nation” rather than God to save them.

To see farther, I must go higher. Like the short man Zaccheus who wished to see Jesus (Luke 19.3), I might climb a tree for a better view. The Jews built taller watchtowers to expand their vision of the horizon. From Seattle’s Space Needle observation deck, Queen Anne Hill and Lake Union unfold before me. If I were an astronaut, my perspective would expand to the entire world. But my vision would be pointless if, like country star Waylon Jennings admitted, “I was looking for love [or help] in all the wrong places”.

It’s not a matter of perspective; it’s a matter a direction. It’s not how far I can see; it’s where I’m looking. I could look the universe wide and still not find the help I need. Real help is closer than I think. “The message [of help] is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may follow it.” (Deuteronomy 30.14 HCSB). Jesus promised, “The kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17.21 NAS). You don’t have to look far for help.

Mimicking the captives of his people, Jeremiah claimed, “Our eyes continually failed us.” The prophet knew there was nothing wrong with their eyes. Exiled Jews “looked in vain for help” because they looked amiss. Ancient Jews were no different than you and me. Our eyes are fine. They “failed us” only because we are looking for help in all the wrong places. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith”  (Hebrews 12.2 NIV) and find in Him the help we need.

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121.1-2 KJV

7 comments:

Yehudi01 said...

Very nice blog and great post! Sunset is a great church..I've attended the Saturday morning men's breakfast a time or two. Donny Ganzer is a great guy! I just wandered into your blog so I thought I'd say hello! You are welcome to visit my 2 blogs and let me know what you think! Do you speak Hebrew? You were correct in your assesment of Lamentations..good job!

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Hi yehudi01,

Thanks for posting to my blog. I'm glad you posted to it. I too like Don Ganzer. He is a good friend of mine. I don't speak Hebrew but I studied it in seminary about 30 years ago and I still use my Biblica Hebraica. I hope we we stay in contact. I looked at your Jewish Pride blog. Very well done. Thanks for sharing with me.

Your Friend,
Dave

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Hi again yehudi01,

I am going through the Hebrew Scriptures in my blog this year (I started in Genesis back in January, 2007).

I would really enjoy the Jewish perspective you could provide from time to time. I post 5 days a week and will be reviewing meaningful verses from Ezekiel, Daniel and the Twelve (Prophets) between now and year end.

Hope you post more. Thanks. I also dropped a line on your "Jewish Pride" blog.

Your Friend,
Dave

CharlieTD said...

Hi Dave,

I didn’t know you followed country western

[Waylon Jennings’ hit said, “I was looking for love in all the wrong places”.]

When I’m church hopping I sometimes think I’m looking in the all the wrong places but most of the time it’s really intriguing.
If you are interested in my church notes I’d be glad to send them to you.

--- Country western is okay but you can’t do better than Lawrence Welk...

Charlie

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Yeah, I'd like to see all your church-hopping notes. Send them to me anytime.

Dave

Yehudi01 said...

"Church-hopping notes?" What are those?

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Hi yehudi01,

"Church-hopping notes" are a reference to charlietd's posted comment on this blog entry. I am taking a break from teaching an adult Sunday School class at Sunset Presbyterian Church to investigate what other local churches are doing with Christian Education. Charlie is joining me as we vist other Adult classes and worship services Sunday mornings. We have been to about half a dozen churches in the Beaverton area in the last 6 weeks and Charlie has apparently taken notes on the experience.

Dave