Year B – Proper 9 – Psalm 123

A Song of Ascents.

1 To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
2 As the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
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 upon us.
3 Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.
4 Our soul has had more than its fill
of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud.

SummaryThe congregation of Israel, with eyes of flesh, looked to the earthly Temple as they ascended to it; but, with eyes of faith, they looked through and past and above it, to the Heavenly Temple.  There, they saw the Lord, enthroned (v.1).  And the eyes of faith which saw the Lord enthroned were eyes that locked onto Him expectantly, waiting for any indication of direction from His hand (v.2).  Why was Israel’s attention to the Lord’s direction so rapt?  Because the Lord was disciplining them toward such rapt attention by the oppression of another nation (end of v.2, and v.3-4).

InsightIn the ancient Near East, masters communicated their wishes to servants wordlessly, using subtle gestures of the hand, taps of the finger, and winks of the eye.  A servant expected these signals and was extremely sensitive to them.  During a feast, for instance, a servant’s job was to stand at the end of the table with eyes locked on his master’s hand, blocking out all distractions, ready to jump at each subtle signal.   Israel saw in this arrangement an illustration of the readiness, expectancy, and sensitivity with which they should jump at any indication of their Lord’s will (v.2).  How do we measure up to that illustration?  When reading or hearing God’s Word, do we expectantly look for any inkling of His will that could give us something to modify in our lives?

Child Catechism
Q:  How should we look to the Lord our God?
A:  As a servant looks to the hand of his master.

DiscussionAre all the implications of God’s Word for your life equally obvious?  If not, should you be reflecting more deeply on the possibility of blind spots? 

PrayerO God, our Lord, Your wish really is our command.  You have spoken, and in Your Word we find Your loves and hates, not only clarified in Your laws, but also implied in Your stories and principles.  Grant that we would imbibe Your Word, and that in imbibing, we would look with anticipation and sensitivity and readiness for every hint at Your heart, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  AMEN.

Contributed by Scott Cline

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