Yesterday, Amy and Geoff continued our series in the Psalms of Ascent with Psalm 123.
When times are hard, do we look down, do we look in, or do we look up? The Psalmist here makes the decision to look up, at God. They knew that was the only way to real satisfaction and hope.
Encountering the eternal nature of God helps put our problems in perspective. Our problems are immediate and feel eternal but through God’s perspective they are a mere drop in the ocean. I love how Colossians 3 in The Message puts it: “So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ – that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.”
Charles Spurgeon writes:
“When we cannot look to any helper on a level with us, it is greatly wise to look above us; in fact if we have a thousand helpers, our eyes should still be toward the Lord. The higher the Lord is the better for our faith, since that height represents power, glory and excellence, and these will be all engaged on our behalf.”
When we feel low; like the Psalmist does here because of the contempt and ridicule he is receiving, look up at God. Think about God; learn to see things from his perspective. Notice that the pictures the Psalmist uses of looking at God are all pictures of dependence on someone much greater than us.
But it’s not just choosing to look up; it’s choosing to keep on looking up. The Psalmist keeps on looking at God until the situation changes. And we keep on looking to him because we know that he is our best and only hope. The Psalmist longs for God to show mercy to him.
Mercy is God taking pity on our difficult situation. And we know that he is rich in mercy. As Paul writes in Ephesians 2:4-5 Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.
God has already shown us that he is rich in mercy. He has already rescued us from sin and death because of his great mercy. So when we are struggling, keep on looking to God and asking for his mercy until things change!
Here’s Paul again, from Titus 3: But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Let us finish with this passage from Alec Motyer’s book Journey:
“Coming there [to a place of prayer] we set aside the troubles and toils of the world and enter a place of rest, where he ‘sits’; we turn from our poverty and want into his ‘home’, where there is everything in abundance, his ‘riches in glory’; and we bring our powerlessness in the face of stronger forces and overwhelming odds into the place of power where he is king. The storms of earth are not storms in heaven, where all is at rest; the wants of earth are swamped by the ocean flood of heaven’s resources; and the forces and oppositions of earth do not count in heaven, where real sovereignty is enthroned.”