July 29, 2018
PRAY: Ask the Lord to reveal the truth that this psalm is communicating, and how you should apply it. Pray for Him to be glorified through your response.
READ: Psalm 123
This brief passage is one of the 15 psalms labeled as “songs of ascent.” Many scholars believe that these were called “ascent” songs because Jewish pilgrims sang them on the way to Jerusalem to celebrate religious festivals. Jerusalem was surrounded by mountains, so you literally had to ascend to get there. This background actually fits well with Psalm 123, because the author is clearly feeling down from “more than enough” (v. 3-4) of the scorn, contempt, and arrogance of the world. He’s frustrated with this experience, and as he travels toward the Temple in Jerusalem, he lifts his eyes toward the Lord, looking upward and seeking hope.
This is the right response to our trials! You may have had more than enough pain and suffering recently, but in the midst of that, look up to the “one enthroned in heaven” (v. 1). God is your King, your Redeemer, your Provider, your Supplier, your Sustainer, and your Ruler. He alone can satisfy your heart, heal your pain, and give you strength to live in a broken and painful world that still needs the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The author gives a powerful illustration of how we should look to God for help – the picture of servants looking to the hand of their master or mistress. In those days, a servant would’ve been completely dependent upon his master for his daily needs, so he would’ve been very attentive to the movement of his hand to reach out in provision, grace, and kindness. It reminds me of the way my young kids look to their parents, first thing in the morning, to satisfy their hungry bellies. That’s the number one concern on their minds, and they are extremely attentive to what we are doing – especially if it’s something other than feeding them! The Psalmist looks to God in this way, begging God three times over for “favor” (v. 2-3). “Favor” could also be translated “grace,” and it refers to God’s kindness beyond what we deserve, and to His provision of our needs when we look to Him in faith and prayer.
1. Are you depending upon the Lord like a servant upon his master? Is your life marked by humility, faith, and prayer?
2. What other things are you tempted to “lift your eyes to” instead of Jesus?
3. What contempt, scorn, or other bad experiences from the world can you hand over to the Lord today?
Memorize: “Like a servant’s eyes on his master’s hand, like a servant girl’s eyes on her mistress’s hand, so our eyes are on the Lord our God until He shows us favor.” Psalm 123:2
1 I lift my eyes to you, the one enthroned in heaven.
2 Like a servant’s eyes on his master’s hand, like a servant girl’s eyes on her mistress’s hand, so our eyes are on the Lord our God
until he shows us favor.
3 Show us favor, Lord, show us favor, for we’ve had more than enough contempt.
4 We’ve had more than enough
scorn from the arrogant and contempt from the proud.