Friday, July 27, 2007

"To you I lift up my eyes, you who are enthroned in the heavens!" (Psalm 123)

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants to the hand of their master,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes to the Lord our God, until he be gracious to us.

Be gracious to us, O Lord, be gracious to us;
For we are greatly filled with contempt.
Our soul is greatly filled with the scoffing of those who are at ease,
With the contempt of the proud.

- Psalm 123

Back in Psalm 121, it was, "I will lift my eyes up to the hills." Here it is, "To you I will lift up my eyes." We're ascending to greater wisdom.

We're learning here that we're his servants, and so he is where to go for our help. And the help we need is for him to be gracious to us. Nothing else will do.

When our souls are filled with the scoffing of those who are at ease, the contempt of the proud, it's easy to console ourselves by scoffing in our turn, easing our pain through contempt of our tormentors.

This is especially easy to fall into because scoffers earn the scoffing of others, precisely because they are refusing to be serious people, and the contemptuous are indeed contemptible through their pride. This makes it very easy to stumble over them, becoming just like them.

The answer is, instead of consoling myself with scoffing and contempt as they do, to look to the Lord to be gracious to us. Even when David was about to kill Goliath, his purpose was for "this whole assembly" - his Philistine adversaries included - to know the salvation of God (1 Samuel 17:46-47).

Those that treat us with contempt and scoff at us - as my son and I are experiencing right now - may have fallen into real degradation, but they remain human beings made in God's image and likeness. May I learn to humble myself so as not to vaunt myself over them, respecting their humanity at all times. To look instead to God to be gracious is to humble myself so as to ascend in God's sight. Psalm 123 is rightly called a Song of Ascents.

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