Psalm 123 Reading

Psalm 123:1-4

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us. 3 Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. 4 Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.

A few thoughts for meditation:

1) In this pilgrim song, the memory of where he was before still haunts him. He has arrived to the city, but knows he must return soon to the usual grind. His time of rest and refreshment among God and his people will come to an end. So he cries out to the Lord. And let’s look at his vision of God as he cries out to him. First, God is “enthroned in the heavens”. The worshiper looks beyond his circumstances to the God who rules over all and can intervene. God is distinct from his creation, and is not bound by it, and so that allows the possibility of rescue. The worshiper then shifts the analogy to one of a servant. A well-trained servant concentrates his focus upon his master and stands by patiently awaiting his master’s command. He observes the ques of his master and often knows when to act even before the master speaks. Such is the singular focus of this worshiper here. He diligently focuses upon the Lord, waiting for any motion of deliverance as he faithfully serves him. This is the vision of God that the worshiper has, seeing God as sovereign over all, king over all, wisely executing his purposes for us, so that we can serve him and trust him to answer our pleas in exactly the way we need it when we need it.

2) In the last part of the song, he prays specifically for God to have mercy. In this specific situation he needs deliverance from “contempt” and “scorn”. He is opposed by the “proud” who are “at ease”. He is looked down upon by his neighbors and treated as inferior or absurd. The situations in which a Christian may face this kind of snobbery are many. But here, it seems to be the reaction of men who don’t take God as seriously as the worshiper. The worshiper is devoted to the Lord as his king, and is striving to live a life worthy of such a king. But the opponent is “at ease,” has no fear of God, and no respect for the intentions and commitments of the worshiper. Notice, twice here the worshiper has had “more than enough” of this attitude from his opponent. But in this case, he has no power to change the situation. Humanly speaking, he seems helpless to do anything about it. So he cries out to the Lord for mercy. No one likes to be treated as a fool or a clown, especially when he is sincerely pursuing someone or something he loves. Such pain cuts to the heart.

Perhaps you have felt that pain in various ways because of your love for Christ. But to live under it everyday would be a heavy weight indeed. We have brothers and sisters in persecuted countries facing such scorn today. Use this psalm as a way to identify with them and pray for them. But perhaps you face this contempt in various relationships you have; a wayward parent or child, a close friend who has parted ways, a boss or coworker. Know that the Lord is there to help you through it. His mercy may come by removing the person who causes such pain or by converting him. Or his mercy may come by giving you the strength and wisdom to endure the scorn with grace. But help will come from the throne.

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