Psalms of Ascent – Psalm 123 – My Worth Comes From God (Part I)

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Psalm 123 – The Amplified Bible 

  1. Unto You do I lift up my eyes, O You Who are enthroned in heaven.
  2. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, and as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He has mercy and loving-kindness for us.
  3. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on and loving-kindness for us,
  4. Our life is exceedingly filled with the scorning and scoffing of those who are at ease and with the contempt of the proud (irresponsible tyrants who disregard God’s law).

Wow.  Isn’t that last verse just incredibly applicable to Christians right now, as we (and especially Sarah Palin) are being attacked by both the liberal media and left-wing radical Democrats?  But that is another post.  One I will not write because I would not be very nice.  But we will get to discuss scorning and scoffing (verses 3 and 4) in Part Two.  If I can be nice.

Part One:  Psalm 123:1-2

Back on track:  I believe the theme of this psalm is deliverance from the oppression of others.  Beth says, “Psalm 123 falls into the genre of songs of lament, but the focus is God Himself.”  We need to be aware of where our focus is during tough times.  I love what Beth goes on to say:

I’d like to suggest that an entire chain reaction begins with our eyes and ultimately affects our hearts, souls, and minds.  Where we look – where we genuinely fasten our gaze – amid continual life challenges has a tremendous impact on how we feel.

I know this is true in my own life.  Since I was a political science major and am, therefore, a political junky, I have had a really hard time not letting all the vile, dishonest, downright mean things that have been said about certain persons now in the campaign get to me.  I have to be very careful what news articles I read, because, let me tell you, one incredibly stupid ignorant comment by a left-wing pundit can send my blood pressure boiling so fast I’m surprised there isn’t steam coming out of my ears. 

Taking a breath.  Calming down. 

See what I mean?  I am an extremely passionate person when it comes to things I believe in.  Nothing gets me hotter than someone (*cough*liberals*cough*) saying they believe in freedom of speech and freedom of religion, etc., then turning around in the next breath (*cough*liberals*cough*) and blasting Christians for our “intolerant” beliefs.  Talk about hypocritical. 

Counting to ten.  Asking for serenity.

ANYWAY, I have found that I desperately need to spend more time reading God’s Word and less time watching election coverage.  I need to spend more time in prayer for Sarah Palin and her family and less time watching twisted, skewed news stories about them.  Bible study and prayer honestly calms me down and focuses my energy on something of ETERNAL value.  In the end, all this junk down here isn’t going to matter.  If I am worried about our country, or about severe weather, or anything else, and then spend time watching all the bad news about those things, then I get all torqued and upset and am moody and unbearable to be around.

I am a walking, talking example of what Beth meant when she illustrates that where you look leads to what you hear, which leads to what you feel, which then leads to what you expect.  If I watch the news, and they slam my religious beliefs as being stupid or mindless, then that makes me livid and combative, which, in turn, makes me expect that our country will not just be down the toilet soon, but completely in the sewers.  

Beth says:

God tells us exactly who He thinks – and knows – He is.  He does not call us to worship and serve ignorantly and stumble before Him blindly.  Students of sound Biblical theology will discover than Christianity is a thinking and reasoning person’s belief system.

 

I am neither stupid or mindless.  I am not following blindly or ignorantly.  I am, by the grace of God, actually incredibly intelligent (and I have the test scores to prove it 😉 ).  Wanna see me mad?  Call me stupid.  Then back slowly away. 

But that type of reaction does not honor God.  I need to look to God and His Word and take my direction from there.  That will effect how I respond and behave in all circumstances, and my expectations will be different.  Instead of shaking my fist and getting mad or self-righteous when talking heads go on and on about how stupid Christians are, I will instead shake my head and feel a deep sense of sadness because they just don’t get it.  I will be able to say a prayer for them, that their eyes will be opened to TRUTH – real TRUTH, not their version of “truth” – before they are forced to their knees in front of God’s throne, since it will be way too late then.   

No matter what happens, God IS in control.  “Nothing operates outside of God’s sovereign rule,” Beth says.  That drives the Michael Moore’s of this world NUTS.  They spew out “how can a loving God do such and such” so much they sound like a broken record.  The answer is I don’t know.  I don’t know why some things are allowed to happen when God has the power to stop it.  But I do know that ultimately it is our fault.  We, human beings, let this happen to the earth.  WE ate of the tree.  WE just had to do the ONE THING we were told not to do.  WE opened the door for Satan to move in.  Before that, there were no natural disasters.  No earthquakes.  No hurricanes.  No tornados.  WE did this.  Not God.  And one day God will fix it back the way it was supposed to be.

Beth quotes Eugene Peterson:

We are not presented with a functional god who will help us out of jams or an entertainment god who will lighten our tedious hours.  We are presented with the God of exodus and Easter, the God of Sinai and Calvary.  If we want to understand God, we must do it on His terms.  If we want to see God the way He really is, we must look to the place of authority – to Scripture and to Jesus Christ.

And do we really want it any other way?  I don’t think so.  We would very soon become contemptuous of a god whom we could figure out like a puzzle or learn to use like a tool.  No, if God is worth our attention at all, He must be a God we can look up to – a God we must look up to . . . The moment we look up to God (and not over at Him, or down on Him) we are in the posture of servitude.

 

Beth then says, “Peterson doesn’t mean God can’t or won’t get us out of jams.  But if that’s all we make of Him, we’ve missed the true enormity of God . . . Who else is so brilliant, so multidimensional and gloriously mysterious that you could spend your entire life studying and never grasp His vastness?”  I don’t think anyone has ever said it better.  I know lots of people who have turned their backs on God because He didn’t bail them out of trouble they got themselves into.  They didn’t KNOW God.  They didn’t UNDERSTAND God.  They weren’t SEARCHING for God.  He isn’t our butler, waiting for our beck and call.  He isn’t here to serve us.  We are here to serve HIM.  We were made to worship HIM.  We were made to love HIM. 

I know that if I thought I had God completely figured out – if He were capable of being duped, which He isn’t – I would without a doubt try to do things to get an “in” so He would reward me by improving my life – finances, career, relationships, etc.  I think we all would.  It’s part of being a fallen human.  We want what is best for us.  But a god who could be duped and played like that is not the true God.

It is amazing that God can hear the desires and prayers of our hearts through space and time, and He can really listen, hear, and focus on each and every one.  God always wants what is best for us.  That is why He doesn’t let us have everything we want.  But when our will for our lives matches up with His will for us, incredible things will start to happen.

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