Merciful heavens, Psalm 123

In Psalm 123, the psalmist lifts his eyes and a heartfelt cry to the heavens. These four short verses are packed with emotional power. The first two verses convey an image of total dependence upon God as believers pray corporately for mercy.

To you I lift up my eyes,
   O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
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 (1-2, ESV).

God reigns over all the events of our lives. We look to him for mercy. And we keep looking to him until he grants it in his perfect timing. Our upturned faces feel the warming rays of his grace and the refreshing drops of his blessing.

But waiting for God’s mercy to descend from his heavens is not easy, especially when proud persecutors shove their contempt down our throats until we choke.

Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us,
   for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Our soul has had more than enough
   of the scorn of those who are at ease,
   of the contempt of the proud (3-4).

God may allow more affliction when we feel that we simply can’t bear any more. Our hearts, our minds, our very souls may seem to be burdened beyond endurance. It’s one thing to endure sickness or natural disasters, which are obviously under God’s control. It’s quite another thing to suffer scorn from a financially secure and arrogant person. And it becomes even more difficult to bear when that contempt continues for days that stretch into weeks that lengthen into months.

God promises: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Cor. 10:13, ESV).

We may not hear the throbbing rotors of the helicopter coming to lift us from the rooftop, we may not have found the inflatable raft in the locker, we may not see the lifeboat bobbing toward us on the waves, but you can know for sure that God will rescue you before you sink into the depths. At this very moment, he is providing a way of escape. He has promised it, and his promises never fail.

Continue to trust God. Lift your eyes to the heavens and plead with the Lord for mercy. Cling to the life preserver of his promise! Don’t let go! Help is on the way!


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