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Psalm 123: I Raise My Eyes to You (SLRP Devo)

A servant looked to the master in hopes of receiving provision of some kind, something to help them. In the same way we look to Yahweh in dependence on his grace and mercy. It cannot be earned. It is not deserved.
Psalm 123: I Raise My Eyes to You (SLRP Devo)
Photo by Theodor Esenwein / Unsplash


Psalm 123
A song for the ascents

1 To you I raise my eyes,
you who sit in the heavens.

2 There, like the eyes of servants
towards the hand of their masters,
Like the eyes of a maidservant,
towards the hand of their mistress,
So are our eyes towards Yahweh our God,
until he is gracious to us.

3 Be gracious to us, Yahweh, be gracious,
because we've become full of contempt.

4 Our entire being has become very full for itself
of the ridicule of complacent people,
of the contempt of majestic people.

[Psalm 123, The Bible For Everyone (bold and italics mine)]

"Yahweh" is often translated as "LORD" in modern translations. "LORD" (all caps) refers to God while "Lord" or "lord" is the generic, non-divine, use of the word (think Downton Abby or other such show where people are referred to as "lord")


"Wonderful Grace of Jesus" by Haldor Lillenas (1918)

Wonderful grace of Jesus,
greater than all my sin;
how shall my tongue describe it,
where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden,
setting my spirit free,
for the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
deeper than the mighty rolling sea,
higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain,
all-sufficient grace for even me;
broader than the scope of my transgressions, sing it!
Greater far than all my sin and shame.
O magnify the precious name of Jesus, praise his name!


I raise my eyes to you...

Lifting our eyes is a natural posture and attitude of prayer--eyes open, looking to the skies, to the One who created all that is. Psalm 123 does not mention the temple, acknowledging that Yahweh is above everything.

This does not reduce the significance for people of that time—remember, these Psalms are being sung as pilgrims climb the hill into Jerusalem to worship at the temple. But, we are reminded that the temple made by human hands is not the highest and holiest.

Be gracious to us!

A servant looked to the master, hoping to receive some kind of provision, something to help them. In the same way, we look to Yahweh in dependence on his grace and mercy. It cannot be earned. It is not deserved.

We've become very full...

Most translations see God's people as the victims of contempt and ridicule. As a result, they seek God's mercy. When we find ourselves in similar situations, our response should be the same. Rather than taking matters into our own hands, we look to Yahweh, whose perfect justice, knowing the hearts of all, will set things right.

In contrast, it also seems possible to see these words as confessions that we, God's people, are filled with contempt and ridicule. How often do we see this in our churches and among Christians today? How often do we witness Jesus' people filled with fruit contrary to those of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, willing to set aside the heart and mind of Christ for the sake of winning temporary, earthly victories? Too often, it seems.

Let us raise our eyes to the source of our true hope, peace, and life.

I consulted the following in writing this reflection:
* Psalms 123 (NKJV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible Notes)
* Psalms 123:1 (ESV Global Study Bible Notes)
* NIV Word Study Bible
* https://www.blueletterbible.org
* Other Bible translations, including NLT, ASV, NASB, CEB, Amplified, and Young's Literal Translation


Father above, whose throne is in the skies,
Jesus, who has brought us new life,
Holy Spirit, who guides us in truth,

We lift our eyes to you, waiting for you to give us what we truly need.
We lift our eyes to you, knowing you hear our prayers.
We lift our eyes to you, hoping for the day when all will be made right.

Be gracious to us and show us your mercy.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.
Show us where we are filled with unChristlikeness, unspiritual fruit, and ungodliness, that we might repent, confess, and turn back to you.

Thank you. I lift up this prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.

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Previous two devotionals:

Psalm 122: May There Be Well-Being (SQRP Devo)
Let there be well-being among us and for those among whom we have been placed. Let there be well-being for our church family, those who walk with us in faith. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me, my family, and my church. (SQRP Devotional from Psalm 120)
Psalm 121: Where Does My Help Come From? (SLRP Devo)
Mountains are symbols of strength and stability, images of the God we worship and serve. Strong and stable, it is God who keeps us both day and night, when we come and when we go.

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