What are you looking at?
What do you do when you are frustrated or discouraged by things in your life that you are powerless to change?
I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned on heaven.
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What are you looking at?
The context of this psalm is a request for mercy. This request comes as a response to scoffing and contempt. We don’t have the historical background for what motivated the psalmist to write this short psalm asking for God’s mercy, so, we can only guess at what was going on. We can imagine that the psalmist is frustrated or discouraged by the scoffing and contempt he is experiencing. His response is to cry out to God for mercy.
Mercy is an important concept for us as Christians. It is often contrasted to grace and we often see them in the Scriptures together. The basic idea of grace is getting something good from God that I want but probably don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting what I don’t want but that I might deserve. Grace is often connected to the good things in life and mercy to the bad things in life. That is a highly simplistic way to look at it, but it sums it up for us.
The psalmist is frustrated or discouraged by the contempt and scoffing being directed toward him. By asking God to extend mercy implies that the psalmist is powerless to do something about the situation. What do you do when you are frustrated or discouraged by things in your life that you are powerless to change?
Too often, we attempt to solve these kinds of problems ourselves. We might attempt to avoid that thing that frustrates us or abandon whatever it is that discourages us. Instead, the psalmist suggests we ought to be looking to God for mercy – asking Him to intercede on our behalf.
The second verse of that psalm suggests something else – keeping our eyes on the Lord for a very specific reason, to watch for ‘the slightest signal’. The sense of that is that we should be waiting for the Lord to give us direction as to how He wants us to deal with the situation. This also suggests that once we see the slightest signal from the Lord that we will respond to it immediately in faithful obedience.
There is another benefit to looking to the Lord for mercy and help that will make waiting for God’s timing more tolerable. By watching diligently for a signal from God we are not focused on the situation. Often, we make our circumstances more miserable by focusing on them rather than on the Lord.
Whatever is causing you to be frustrated or discouraged is bigger than you. Otherwise, you would have fixed it and wouldn’t be frustrated or discouraged any longer. If you want to experience God’s mercy in that situation fix your eyes on Him and watch for His signals. God is enthroned in heaven, but He is not far from those who seek His mercy. Lift your eyes up to Him and be free. Pray this prayer: Jesus, help us to focus on You and not on our problems.
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