Friday, August 4, 2023

I Will Lift Up My Eyes to the Hills

If you ask someone for directions on Oahu, you may hear them use the terms makai and mauka to indicate which side of the road a place is located. Makai means on the oceanside of the road, and mauka means on the mountain side of the road. When I lived in Kailua, never a day went by when I did not notice the mountains. Oahu was formed when two ancient volcanos -- the Waianae volcano and the Koolua volcano -- coalesced, as this fancy diagram illustrates.

The Koolau volcano is younger and larger than the Waianae. It covers about two thirds of the island of Oahu. A caldera (a large crater formed by the collapse of the mouth of the volcano) nearly 8 miles long and 4 miles wide developed in what is now Kailua. This becomes clear when you visit the Pali Lookout. 

It is famous for being the place where Kamehameha the Great forced an army of a local chief up the valley, driving 300 of them off the cliff. 

The Pali Lookout overlooks the entire amphitheater-shaped Koolua caldera, the eastern half of which is now submerged several miles offshore. 

The Pali is never out of your sight when you are in Kailua. I snapped this pic on my way to the airport. 

The Pali always reminded me of God's strength, power, and greatness. That's in fact the message of Psalm 121:1. Here the Psalmist assumes that people are lifting their eyes up to the hills. The word for "hill" used here (har) is an interesting one. It has several possible meanings. 

Although the Koolua Range is fairly small when compared to the Alps or the Rockies, I wouldn't exactly call it a hill. My point is that I never had any difficulty cultivating a vision of the mountains of God while growing up. His omnipotence pours itself into anyone living in Kailua. And the lesson? We must seek all our help from God. Our help does not come from the hills (= man). Man's help is vain. My help comes from the Maker of heaven and earth. 

As I age, I realize more and more that God is all-powerful. He is able to do anything. No man need to decide that all his best experiences are in the past. It is not even too much to ask God for a mountain, even at Caleb's age. He did not seek a cushy retirement and a pension. He still had giants to slay. Not in his own strength, of course. "If the Lord is with me, then I will be able to drive them out, as the Lord said" (Josh. 14:12).

Let not advancing years cause you to lose sight of God's mighty power to do great things in and through you. Don't settle for anything less than his best. Why shouldn't his warrior's last victory be his best?