Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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Scripture Passage

      Psalm - Chapter 123 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. (A song for worship.) Our LORD and our God, I turn my eyes to you, on your throne in heaven.
    2. Servants look to their master, but we will look to you, until you have mercy on us.
    3. Please have mercy, LORD! We have been insulted more than we can stand,
    4. and we can't take more abuse from those proud, conceited people.

Psalms - Chapter 123

Entered: April 08, 2009
Expectancy might be considered the theme of this psalm. It is evident, for instance, in the mention of the eyes. They are lifted to the Lord, as the servant's eyes are attentive to their master, those of the writer are on the Lord. The eyes are expectant of the Lord's mercy or favor. We can sense that this is an urgent expectancy rather than casual. The writer and his people are exposed to scorn and contempt by those who are arrogant and proud. Who might this be? We don't know, but some believe the psalm was written during a time when Israel was in captivity. Whatever the circumstances, they have experienced enough scorn and contempt and are looking for God's favor.

Unfortunately, it is when we feel the rejection of those around us that we normally feel most rejected by God as well. To be sure, this is perception and not reality, but perception is often what seems the most real to us at the time. That is why we need to keep close to God in all times so that in the difficult times we are assured of the Lord's presence even when it might seem that He is far away. As the question is sometimes asked, "If God seems far away, who has moved?" And, of course, the answer is, "It wasn't God." This may seem trite, but it is true, none the less. God is ever present and ever with us. If ever it seems otherwise, it is our feelings that are betraying us. James 4:8 tells us to, "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." God is ever present. It is we who come and go. Jesus told His followers to "Remain in Me, and I in you." (John 15:4) By so doing, He said, we can be fruitful.

Reflecting on scripture is a primary way we can remain in the Lord or draw close to Him. It is a practice that will take us through both good and bad times.

Entered: June 02, 2014

In the singing of this psalm, the worshiper is drawn to lift his eyes heavenward looking for divine mercy and favor. Verse two depicts the worshiper as a servant with eyes on his/her master's hand looking for signs of his favor. It is an attitude of submission to the Lord's mercy rather than anger with the Lord for their plight.

As exiles in a foreign land, the psalmist and his countrymen had had more than enough of the scorn and contempt directed at them by their captors. They pleaded for God's favor that He might deliver them from this treatment.

Under such circumstances we find we have nowhere else to turn than to the Lord. Previous to their exile, the Israelites had often turned to idols and the gods of the neighboring nations. But they knew this was what sent them into exile and not by their foreign gods, but by the Lord God. It was He and no other god who was their hope.

It is our best thinking that often gets us into circumstances from which we need deliverance. And our only hope is to turn to God for deliverance.