Psalm 123: Our Focus

According to an old saying, “You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” When it comes to Israel, it seems you can’t please any of the people any of the time.

Despite all of their accomplishments and contributions to humanity, the Jewish people always seem to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. They are unjustly blamed for almost everything. Perhaps that is why Psalm 123 encourages Israel to look to the Lord:

Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lᴏʀᴅ our God, until He has mercy on us (vv. 1–2).

The world is a tough place. The psalmist urged Israel to look to God as servants look to their masters—or, today, employees to their employers—with respect. The apostle Peter wrote, “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh” (1 Pet. 2:18). The word fear implies respect. People should regard the Lord with reverence and give Him the honor due Him.

The psalmist begged, “Have mercy on us, O Lᴏʀᴅ, have mercy on us! For we are exceedingly filled with contempt. Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorn of those who are at ease, with the contempt of the proud” (Ps. 123:3–4).

The psalm is talking about the Israelites being filled up with the contempt that is being poured out on them by others. Wrote Bible scholar Charles Ryrie, “The psalmist expresses his confidence in God…and prays for the people’s deliverance from those who have contempt for them.”1 Bible commentator Allen P. Ross said the Jewish pilgrims “were held in contempt, that is they had endured much ridicule from the…arrogant.”2

This psalm sounds like it could have been written today. The two most scorned groups of people in the world are the Jewish people and Bible-believing Christians. Both groups should focus on the Lord, who gives strength, comfort, and peace, even amid ridicule and persecution.

The world system is dominated by Satan, the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). He hates the Jewish people because God loves them, chose them to bring the Messiah into the world, and has a major role for them in the future Millennial Kingdom. Satan hates Bible-believing Christians because they do not belong to him and they point people to the Bible, which provides the knowledge of how faith in Christ transfers individuals from Satan’s domain into God’s and from death to life (Jn. 5:24; Col. 1:13).

The Lord is the lifter of our heads and keeper of our souls. We need to stay focused on Him.

ENDNOTES
  1. Charles Caldwell Ryrie, The Ryrie Study Bible, English Standard Version (Chicago, IL: Moody, 2011), 715, n Psalm 123.
  2. Allen P. Ross, “Psalms,” The Bible Knowledge Commentary, ed. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 883.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Features

From the Editor Sep/Oct 2015

A few months ago, the husband of one of my dearest friends died of a heart attack while eating lunch. One minute he was alive; the next, he wasn’t. My friend told me the ambulance arrived...

Pilgrim Songs

Psalms 120 through 134 are referred to as the Songs of Ascents due to the superscription at the beginning of each psalm. The term ascent carries the notion of step or degree. The interpretation of...

Psalm 120: Our Deliverer

Sung by ancient pilgrims making their way up to Jerusalem to observe the primary feasts of Israel, Psalm 120 is the first in a series known as the Psalms of Ascents. It begins with a...

Psalm 121: Our Security

Imagine a Jewish father singing to his children, “My help comes from the Lᴏʀᴅ, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber...

Psalm 122: Our Joy And Peace

Psalm 122 is the third of the 15 pilgrim songs known in Hebrew as Psalms of Aliyah, meaning “going up.” Traveling to Jerusalem, especially for the three annual Jewish festivals...

Psalm 123: Our Focus

According to an old saying, “You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” When it comes to Israel...

Subscription Options

1 Year Digital Subscription

  • *Free PDF Book Download - What on Earth is God Doing? by Renald Showers
  • *Free Full-Issue PDF Downloads

$9.99 every year

1 Year Digital with Archive Access

  • *Free PDF Book Download - What on Earth is God Doing? by Renald Showers
  • *Complete Access to Our Growing Archive—Eventually Back Through Our Inaugural Issue In 1942
  • *Free Full-Issue PDF Downloads of Current Issues and Select Archives

$19.99 every year

2 Year Digital Subscription

  • *Free PDF Book Download - What on Earth is God Doing? by Renald Showers
  • *Free Full-Issue PDF Downloads

$19.99 every 2 years

2 Year Digital with Archive Access

  • *Free PDF Book Download - What on Earth is God Doing? by Renald Showers
  • *Complete Access to Our Growing Archive—Eventually Back Through Our Inaugural Issue In 1942
  • *Free Full-Issue PDF Downloads of Current Issues and Select Archives

$39.99 every 2 years

3 Year Digital Subscription

  • *Free PDF Book Download - What on Earth is God Doing? by Renald Showers
  • *Free Full-Issue PDF Downloads

$29.99 every 3 years

3 Year Digital with Archive Access

  • *Free PDF Book Download - What on Earth is God Doing? by Renald Showers
  • *Complete Access to Our Growing Archive—Eventually Back Through Our Inaugural Issue In 1942
  • *Free Full-Issue PDF Downloads of Current Issues and Select Archives

$59.99 every 3 years

Free 1 Year Digital Subscription

Unlimited Articles

Free