We all look up to someone, especially when we are younger since so many are older and taller than us. There is more to it than that though. It may be that the one we are looking to is greater than ourselves. This concept is even affirmed in Psalm 123. However, it also goes a step further and adds a plea of mercy to the idea. Let’s begin our study by reading the first two verses of the text,
To you I do lift up my eyes, you who sit in the heavens. 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress; so our eyes look to Yahweh, our God, until he has mercy on us.Psalm 123:1-2
As we begin, we do see mention of servants looking to the hand of a master and a maid to her mistress. These are but two physical examples of lifting up one’s eyes to someone. In our own lives we may easily think of similar situations. Children look up to their parents. Employees respect their employers. I look up to those who have a rightful authority, such as police officers.
These are all related to matters of the world. However, we should also lift up our eyes to He who is greater than us.
God’s Exalted Position
Psalm 123 begins with lifting up one’s eyes to the He who sits in the heavens. As we study the text closely, we observe the use of a plurality at the end of verse 2. Notice where it reads, “So our eyes look to Yahweh, our God, until he has mercy on us.” Whoever wrote this is speaking from the perspective of a group. Perhaps this psalm was recited by the Jewish people as they worshipped God.
Part of the psalmist’s intention may have been to compel those who recited it to look to He who is higher than them more often. This is a good act, and we would do well to learn from their example. We all need to raise our eyes to God for mercy.
For myself, I know I gain a proper perspective when I look to God. When I don’t, I become discouraged and anxious concerning the things of this world. It reminds me that I need to look to God for His mercy often. With that in mind, How long did these people look to Yahweh?
It wasn’t just for a short time. It was for as long as it took for mercy to be given. That is an incredible amount of patience!
As I reflect on this, it makes me wonder whether or not I could develop the same virtue. Can any of us be so patient? I hope so! May we all develop such patient faith through Christ!
As we continue reading, did you see that the group isn’t seeking mercy just from a physical master or king? Instead, they desire it from the One who sits in the ultimate position of authority. They lift their eyes to God who sits in the heavens. By doing so, they demonstrate their humility and lowly position before Him.
The Need for Mercy
As the Psalm continues, we learn why mercy is necessary.
Have mercy on us, Yahweh, have mercy on us, for we have endured much contempt. 4 Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scoffing of those who are at ease, with the contempt of the proud.Psalm 123:3-4
For the first time, the author speaks of what compels him to seek mercy. It is because of those who treat the people with contempt (vs. 3). They have endured much of it.
This use of the word “endured” reminds us of the duration of this treatment. Like the waiting for mercy, the contempt was for a long time. It was done by the proud and those who were at ease.
Does that sound right to you?
The scoffers were at ease, but we should be the ones who enjoy that blessing because we look up to God. Sadly, that is often not the case. Is it because we don’t wait long enough for His mercy?
Hopefully we will learn to employ this godly patience. Trusting that the mercy and deliverance of God will come in its time. Do not lose heart at the contempt of the proud. Stand firm in your faithfulness to Him. Put your focus on God and look to Him in humility. Be a servant to all, and wait for His mercy.
A Man With Blue Shades Looking Upward by theharpreetbatish from Pixabay.