Psalm 123

Pleading for the mercy of the LORD is the title and theme of this brief ‘Song of Degrees’ which begins: ‘Unto Thee lift I up mine eyes, O Thou that dwellest in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that He have mercy upon us.’ (v.1,2)

The longing gaze of someone who is under the authority of another and fully dependent upon them for their needs is the picture being portrayed here. In addition, the word mercy implies the kind and compassionate treatment of one who is under the power of another.

Servitude is also emphasized in the illustrations used by the Psalmist which rightly portrays the New Testament teaching of the obedient Christian as the authors of the letters and epistles usually included this truth in the introduction to their writings.

‘Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ’ (Romans 1:1), ‘James, a servant of God’ (James 1:1), ‘Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ’ (II Peter 1:1), ‘Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ’ (Jude 1:1), ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ...unto His servant John’ (Revelation 1:1). These brief quotes show that each of these men saw themselves as faithful servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, which indeed was and still is a high and holy calling for all who are saved.

Therefore, the attitude of servitude which this Psalm promotes and teaches is one for all of God’s dear children today as we give ourselves fully to His service. It is this attitude that receives God’s attention and the complete benefit of His mercies which ‘are new every morning’. (Lamentations 3:23)

In (v.3) the appeal is doubled: ‘Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt.’ This request is magnified by it’s repetition showing the urgent need of an answer with the reason given for the appeal being the reproach and dishonor thrown upon them.

‘Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.’ (v.4) The expressions of disdain by those who ‘are at ease’ and the statements of dishonor from ‘the proud’ are the basis for the Psalmists appeal for mercy. His testimony is a stake and he knows His LORD can vindicate him, but it will only be accomplished through the bestowal of mercy from his God.

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