Theme: The pilgrim life learns to develop an eye of hope in God, which takes faith that goes beyond the seen, a servant heart towards God, patience in waiting for grace, and habitually turning to God when filled with contempt.
This song is a sigh, turning the eye towards God, developing an eye of hope.
Eye Of Hope: With Faith (123:1)
1 To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
You have to learn to look into heaven.
Our pilgrim knew God dwelt, ultimately, in the heavens.
- Israel eventually believed God only lived in that house, making the house permanent not progressive, and necessary not temporary.
- This was an error Israel eventually made, according to Stephen — Acts 7:48 (ESV)—48 Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands…
- He was found in Jerusalem, in the temple, and in their praises, but not ultimately.
Our pilgrim does not look to the lesser hills, but now to God. But this is a difficult lesson, for we are inclined to look around, down, or in.
The law of the Spirit is pulling you in a Godward direction —
- Romans 8:2 (ESV)—2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
- Romans 8:4 (ESV)—4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
The song will become communal in a moment — containing “our” and “us” — but only after the individuals made their resolution to turn to God.
Earth and heaven, dust and deity; the poor, weeping, sinful children of mortality, the holy, ever-blessed, eternal God: how wide is the interval of separation between them! But over the awful chasm, broader than ocean though it be, love and wisdom in the person of Jesus Christ, have thrown a passage, by which the most sinful may repair unterrified to his presence, and find the shame and the fears of guilt exchanged for the peace of forgiveness and the hope that is full of immortality. —Robert Nisbet.
Eye Of Hope: As Servants (123:2a)
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us.
The singer, perhaps a leader among the people, now turns to the congregation. “This is what we do,” he proclaims, “We look to God like servants look to their masters.” It’s as if he scanned the horizon, looking for a proper illustration of how we’re to look to God.
You have to learn to look to God like a servant looks to a master.
- We are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).
- But we are also “servants of the Most High God” (Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 3:26; and demon possessed girl, Acts 16:17).
Pilgrimage is impossible without the serving glance to God.
- God served us.
- So at times we think that’s all He does, that He exists for our bidding. But we are designed to serve Him. The pilgrim knows this.
- Romans 12:1 (ESV)—1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
- Spiritual worship: logical/reasonable service.
Learn to look to heaven as a servant.
- Direction / Help / Protection / Correction / Reward
- Servants / maidservant: Men and women, group and individuals.
- To the Lord our God: This is about service to God, not man. But service of humanity flows from here into hospitality, compassion, helps, love.
To serve is to find true freedom.
- Galatians 5:13 (ESV)—13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Eye Of Hope: Wait For Grace (123:2b-3a)
2b so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us. 3 Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.
You have to learn to look to God for grace.
- Favor (HCSB), grace (NASB).
- To bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior.
- The main emphasis of the servant/master relationship — He is in the greater position, so we wait for Him to give favor to us.
This is the throne of grace (enthroned, 123:1) — Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)—16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Till: But we wait for it.
- Grace we need: community, love, kindness, assurance, affirmation, provision, direction…
Pilgrim’s learn to expect grace from God.
- Isaiah 64:8 (ESV)—8 But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
- Like a potter working the clay, we expect God is doing a good work in and for us.
Eye Of Hope: When You’ve Had Enough (4)
3b for we have had more than enough of contempt. 4 Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.
Now we see the reason they waited for grace.
- Contempt: disrespect, derision.
- Scorn: like contempt, but out loud.
- Jesus endured both of these.
Question: What scorn or contempt had our pilgrims endured?
- Perhaps the oppression during Ezra or Nehemiah’s time, but this is inconclusive.
- It remains unanswered. I think this was intentional, so that pilgrims through the ages could fill in the blank.
You have to learn to look to God when you’ve had enough.
Redeem the attacks — turn to God for grace. Turn your persecution into a prayer. Don’t let contempt towards you grow into bitterness at God or man.
4 Ease / Proud: It was those who couldn’t see God who brought the scorn.
- They couldn’t see their danger, blinded by their ease.
- They wouldn’t cry out to God, numbed by their proud state.
This eye of hope must be developed.