with Pastor Jon Courson

Bible and Menora
Daily Devotional
August 19
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
Psalm 121:1
The psalmist was not drawing inspiration from the mountains, but rather from the location of Jerusalem in the midst of the mountains. Making his way to Jerusalem, the psalmist says, “I can see the hills. I’m getting close.”

Beginning with The Little Engine That Could from our earliest days we have been taught that if we try hard enough, that if we think we can, we can. But the problem is, sometimes the battles before us are just too great. Sometimes the obstacles that loom over us are just too large . . .

Facing our cross-town rival, Leigh High School, my football coach moved me from my usual position on the line to outside linebacker. Leigh had the best runner in the state that year. Mike Franz was tough, indeed. So the coach put me and another guy as outside linebacker to try and stop the sweep, Mike’s favorite play. All week long, I psyched myself up. I watched the films. I worked out. I told myself that I was unbeatable and unstoppable. Then came the day of the game. The first play Leigh called was a sweep to my side, with Mike Franz carrying the ball. I saw him coming my way. Our linemen had fought off Mike’s interference so it was just me and him, one on one. I had a clear shot at him. I stuck my helmet right into his gut. I speared him just like I was taught.

“All right!” I thought. “I got him!” - until I found myself flat on my back with his cleats running over me as he went on for twenty-five yards.

After I got off the ground, the next play Leigh called was exactly the same sweep. Again, I made contact with Mike. Again, he ran right over my body. The third play Leigh called was a sweep to my side once again. I wrapped my arms around Mike’s legs - and he busted on through for twenty-five yards. In three plays, Mike gained about seventy yards - all over me. Following the third play, I can still hear the cheerleaders yelling, “You can do it. You can do it. You can, you can.”

I clearly remember getting up, looking at them, and thinking, “You can do it.”

Try as I might, I just couldn’t tackle the problem I was facing. So too, sometimes no matter how much we psyche ourselves up, we encounter problems that are just too great for us. So then what do we do? All too often, we look to someone else to give us help. But, although people are sometimes willing to help, they’re not capable . . .

I remember doing a set of squats as a junior at Biola College. Squats are done by doing deep knee bends with a barbell on our shoulders. Because I was attempting to set a personal record, two of my friends were there as spotters, available to help if I couldn’t make the lift. I went down and knew I was in trouble when I heard a “pop” in my lower back. I called out, but these friends of mine were fooling around and didn’t see what was happening until it was too late. I went crashing to the floor, writhing in pain. Although my friends were available, they were very incapable!

The psalmist had a better idea. He knew the key wasn’t to look in to himself or out to his friends, but to look up to the Lord.

This Daily Devotional is an excerpt from the book "A Day of Feasting" by Pastor Jon. "A Day of Feasting" is a collection of 365 short devotions from the Old Testament books of Joshua through Malachi.If you would like your own copy of "A Day of Feasting" you may click here to go to the SearchLight Store.