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Fourth In A Series (from an essay by Pastor Thomas Schuetze)–

Psalm 123

“LORD, help me bear patiently the insults of the contemptuous world.”

A Prayer Psalm

Psalm 123

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 LORD our God, 
until He has mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord, 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.

The thought content of this psalm is similar to Psalm 120. In it the psalmist prays that Jehovah would look down in mercy from His throne in heaven and bring relief to His people who were suffering severe hardship at the hands of their enemies.

The specific hardship they were suffering was this, that their souls were being filled “with the scorn of those who are at ease” and “with contempt of the proud.” The ungodly children of the world were poking fun at God’s people, making life miserable for them, because they believed in Jehovah and were striving to walk in His ways, not the ways of the ungodly world.

The pilgrim bands would have ample reason to pray this prayer as they traveled to Zion. Their heathen neighbors must have thought of them as religious fanatics. “How foolish you Jewish people are to travel to far-away Jerusalem three times each year to worship your God, the God who allowed your land to be conquered and overrun by the Babylonians!”

Undoubtedly these enemies let their contempt for the Jews and for the God of the Jews show. (The Samaritans come to mind again with their open opposition to the rebuilding of the temple.) This was a heavy cross for the believing remnant to bear.

How natural, then, that they would turn to the Lord with the plea that He would help them and strengthen them (as they journeyed to Jerusalem to worship the God whom they loved) to bear patiently, without complaint, the insults of their enemies.

We modern day Christian “pilgrims” can expect to receive similar treatment from the world as we make our way to the New Jerusalem. The message of Christ Crucified is our dearest treasure. But it will remain a stumblingblock to the Jews and to the Greeks foolishness. This will be evident by the spiteful attitude that society takes towards the Word of God, towards the Lord Jesus, towards His Church, and towards those who seek to abide in His Word. “If you were of the world,” Jesus said, “the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master'” (Jn. 15:19-20). Yet we have reason to remain joyful and confident because we know that the Lord, to whom we lift up our eyes, has promised to strengthen us to “bear the world’s dread frown” as we continue our heavenward walk.