Psalm 123:1-2 I lift up my eyes to you,
to you whose throne is in heaven.
As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he shows us his mercy.
I have no emotional connection to what it is like to be a slave. I realize that slavery is actually rampant even today in various forms, but I have never experienced it from either side, or even as a close bystander. That said, I can imagine what the Psalmist is saying here, because it is obviously referring to a state of total dependence. In the case of human slavery, the slave is subject to the whims of the owner. In our relationship with God, we are even more dependent on the grace and mercy of our Creator, because we can’t even take a single breath unless He allows it. However, God is not capricious, as a human owner might be. There is actually great assurance in having a right understanding of our relationship to God. We do get off track and we are subject to His mercy, but when His very character is love, (1 John 4:8) that’s not a bad thing at all. Our task is to recognize and repent when we do get off track, and follow step by step as closely as we can. If we will do that, we will enjoy the peace and assurance our hearts long for through fellowship with God by His Spirit, and that is a treasure beyond everything in the world put together.
It’s been almost 60 years since I was baptized, but this is a truth I am continuing to learn. As a pastor, I deeply desire that everyone in this church learn it as well. Actually, since it is the purpose for which mankind was created, I want everyone to learn it! However, looking back over my own life I recognize various things that tend to stand in the way. The first is the desire for independence. My mother used an expression, “independent as a hog on ice.” That’s certainly colorful, and it illustrates that our attempts at independence seldom get us where we think we want to go. Mixed with that is the pride that thinks we can do anything strictly on our own. Every ability we have is a gift from God; failing to recognize that is blind conceit. Then we have our stubborn failure to trust that God really has our best interests in mind. That’s not just insulting to God, it is tragic because it keeps us from cooperating with and yielding to Him, so that we end up cutting ourselves off from the blessings He intends for us. I need to live as a demonstration that it is possible to have a right relationship with God, so that others may be encouraged to believe that it is possible, and surrender themselves to Him as well.
Father, not a day goes by that I am not impressed by Your grace. I so desire that those around me believe and trust that grace as well, but I know I don’t want it as much as You do. I pray that Your Name would indeed be recognized as holy and that Your kingdom would come as Your will is done on this earth, and I offer myself as an instrument of that will, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!