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Singing Psalm 123 to be at ease

Singing Psalm 123 the economically or socially rich live at ease for a time

In what ways can a person be at ease? How do the eyes of your heart determine whether or not you are at ease?

Affluent people can buy a way to be at ease as they live in luxury.

Families or groups that are close-knit have a familiar sense of being at ease with understanding and acceptance as they live and work with one another.

Those who are at ease in these ways can sometimes look down on fellow image-bearers of God who are on the outside rather than share and include. Ones who don’t belong to a particular group or party can feel contempt and scorn from those who do.

Singing Psalm 123, you lay these emotions before the Lord. Feeling like you’ve had enough of looking around, feeling shunned and shut out, you seek to set your sights on one you can depend upon and trust.

As you sing Psalm 123, you see value in building up a kind of tolerance, a resistance, a shield to insolent scoffing. You realize the jury is still out. Though it is easy to take offense or resort to stoicism, anger, bitterness, depression, shame, or worry, you ask for a pure heart and a willingness to become familiar with sorrow as you wait for the final judgment as to where you stand. Is it merely what you or others think at any given moment or does God have the final say?

So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. ~ John 16:22

You are turning from seeing yourself as a “have not“ to a “have not yet.“ The way to truly be at ease is often through sorrow. You can choose sorrow over anger and all the rest. What you suffer is temporary. Meanwhile, each tear is being bottled by one who sees and cares.

For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. ~ 1 Peter 2:19

Singing Psalm 123 you look beyond the socioeconomic to be at ease for good

Jesus, your redeemer and king who didn’t come to be served but to serve, gets you first to stand at attention. He became sin to set you at ease freeing you from the slavery of it. He frees you to follow his work and rest pattern except you get to rest on the first day of each week and work hard six days through that rest that you might be at ease even as you work.

Your treasure changes. Where your heart was in turmoil, it is moving toward being at ease.

[Jesus] also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” ~ Luke 18:9-14

“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;

my eyes are not raised too high;

I do not occupy myself with things

too great and too marvelous for me.

But I have calmed and quieted my soul,

like a weaned child with its mother;

like a weaned child is my soul within me.

“O Israel, hope in the Lord

from this time forth and forevermore.” ~ Psalm 131

“I lift my eyes to you,

Enthroned above the skies.

As slaves look to their master’s hand,

To you I lift my eyes.

“As to her lady’s hand

A slave girl turns her face

So we look to the Lord our God,

That he might show us grace.” ~ Psalm 123:1-2

Whether you look up, down, or to the side, where are the eyes of your heart fixed? Are they centered on yourself and the good things you do? Are they cast onto other people to compare yourself to and become either proud or insecure?

Singing Psalm 123 fixes the eyes of your heart on the Lord Jesus no matter your standing

politically or socioeconomically. You rest in dependence on him as your master. As Job made a covenant with his eyes, you pay close attention to where the eyes of your heart tend to rest. You are becoming steadfast like Job.

As you prepare your mind for action and set it on things above, you notice that it is also moving toward being at ease as was Job’s who knew his redeemer lived in the midst of intense suffering. He persevered after losing his economic standing. He endured contempt from his friends as he lost his social standing.

Through all of this he stood at attention before the Lord. At just the right time, the Lord set Job’s mind at ease making it crystal clear where both he and his friends stood before him — the only standing that ultimately matters.

Jesus broke the wall of sin that stood between you and God. He gave you his righteousness so that you are now, like Job, able to await the accomplishment of the Lord’s purposes in your suffering, amazed that you get to be a recipient of his compassion and mercy.

Jesus rescued you from rebellion and blessed you to take a humble posture as you wait for the Father to answer your pleas. You trust the Holy Spirit to determine when you have had enough despite what you feel at times. You can count on the triune God to rightly handle your feelings and redeem each one.

The eyes of your heart look up to your maker in his glory and wait for his grace and mercy to help you be at ease in him. You trust him to lead you. You look to your Lord alone to meet all your needs for life, protection, community, and reward.

King Jehoshaphat is a model for living with an at ease posture. He humbly faced the Lord freely admitting that Judah’s enemies were too much for them.

He confided in the Lord: “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” The Lord assured him that the battle was not theirs but God’s. They praised the Lord as their enemies proceeded to destroy themselves.

Judah did well and lived at ease even in the face of enemy contempt under leadership that entrusted their lives to the Lord.

You don’t want to depend on what is fleeting or fickle like money or the approval of your group to live at ease. The eyes of your heart are on the Lord to provide what you need for life: employment as a means for money and his church and neighbors as a means for community.

Living to hear the Lord’s gracious words “well-done” for trusting him with your life puts you at ease in an enduring, meaningful, and worshipful way.

Jehoshaphat stood at attention before the Lord. The Lord responded by setting him at ease.

You ask that those whom you thought had it all would cease putting their hope in transient riches or even in the acceptance of their group. You ask that they put away their contempt and scorn toward other image-bearers who fall outside of these worldly lines of demarcation.

You plead for them to turn and look instead to God as their only hope that they would live at ease with the Lord forever. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” ~ 2 Chronicles 16:9

Singing Psalm 123 you praise the Lord Jesus who makes himself the otherworldly way for his people to be set at ease that transcends their current political and socioeconomic standing.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30

“Show us Your grace, O LORD,

Let us Your favor know;

For we are filled with their contempt,

And all the scorn they show.

“Our souls have had their fill

Of scoffing and contempt,

From those who live a life of ease,

And from the arrogant.” ~ Psalm 123:3-4

October 11-14, 2022


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