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Singing Psalm 141 to satisfy longing eyes

What are you looking for with longing eyes?

Happiness? Gifts? Presents? Something to make you forget lingering feelings of emptiness for a little while? Food? Drink? Dessert? A car or house? Things to put in your house? Clothing? Jewelry? A person? Someone’s favor? New experiences? Travel? Old experiences that you miss? Health, beauty, youthfulness? Academic knowledge, wealth, worldly wisdom? Independence? Prominence, reputation, career, position, power?

Though good gifts are to be enjoyed, can any of these whether good or vain, satisfy your longing eyes permanently and completely?

Longing eyes unfulfilled

With the focus on what you don’t have, on what you lack, it is inevitable that your longing eyes will remain unsatisfied. There will always be more out there that you can want that you don’t already have. Within you lies a bottomless pit of sorts that never seems to have enough.

You will seek and come across people who will advise you on how to get what your longing eyes desire. Who will you choose to be your counselors?

“When just men strike me in reproof,

    Such kindness I’ll accept.

I’ll take it as a soothing oil,

    My head will not reject.

And yet I will continually

    Cry out in prayer to You

To protest all the evil deeds

    That wicked people do.” ~ Psalm 141:5

The balance is properly struck when you welcome correction and reproof from those who would set you straight on a godly path and yet not tolerate the destructive criticism of the wicked when you don’t buy into their assessment of what is wrong with you.

You are open to considering that perhaps how you think, feel, speak, and act is centered on what you can get for yourself. Ironically, you are not settling when you focus on how you can be grateful for what you have already been given—how you can give from that rich repository. Yet there are those who would think you a fool to simply be grateful for what you have. They will urge you to do things you would never consider doing were it not for their influence all in the name of securing your happiness.

The reference to the demise of the wicked does not refer to people whose ideology you disagree with or whose opinion differs from yours. It’s referring to those who dig a pit for you and then, though you escape it, they proceed to fall in it themselves. It is not something you wish for them. In fact, you strongly prefer that they would turn, accept Jesus’ mercy and grace, do good, and become kind as they were made in the image of God who is supremely kind. No, this is something God does as he works in directing your steps and theirs. He is both merciful and just.

Haman thought and planned to get for himself at the expense of others’ lives.

If there ever was a just sentence, it would have to be when Haman was hung on the gallows that he had built for Mordecai.

Saul thought and planned to build himself up by tearing David down.

It was sad but fitting that Saul fell in the way that he had hoped David would and planned for David to fall.

“O keep me from the traps and snares    That wicked men have set.While I pass safely, let them fall;    Catch them in their own net.” ~ Psalm 141:9-10

The Lord did protect David from Saul’s wicked snares. Yet when David took his eyes off the Lord and had longing eyes for Bathsheba, David had Joab place Uriah on the front lines to fall as Saul did and tried to cover it up. He then took Bathsheba for himself. But the Lord saw it all and was displeased. Though David bore consequences, God had mercy on him. Jesus, the son of David, would be the only one whose giving heart and selfless life perfectly did all God’s will.

“Restrain my mouth, LORD, my lips guard;    From all that’s evil, keep my heart,From deeds with those who work deceit;    Let me not from their banquet eat.” ~ Psalm 141:3–4

Even in your desires to give, the devil lurks around until he can twist them into just more ways that lead you to hope to get.

“Down from the side of rocky cliffsTheir leaders will be cast; The pleasant words I speak to them    They then will hear at last.” ~ Psalm 141:6 

Those whose longing eyes have looked to the sly, demon-captivated worldling who would trap them to seek good things for themselves would do well to see through these ploys. Would that they open their ears to hear the words of those who truly care for their well being and none more so than the Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, who came not to take but to give.

“So at the grave’s devouring mouth    Our scattered bones are found.” ~ Psalm 141:7b

Those who have advised you against the Lord’s ways would remove your very backbone so that you aren’t able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil not to mention rendering useless the bones throughout your body that would enable you to do good. You resist them when God opens your longing eyes to recognize their diabolical ways and resist their counsel that leads to death. You are then free to embrace Jesus’ ways and wise words, receiving them as pleasant to your ears and leading to life. He supernaturally takes what is dead in you and makes you live.

“Can these bones live?… O Lord GOD, you know… I will put my Spirit in you, and you shall live…” ~ Ezekiel 37:3, 14

Singing Psalm 141 teaches you that death is not the worst thing that could happen to you. The Lord leaving you to yourself is the worst thing that could happen to you. Death is no match for the triune God. He will repay the years that the locusts have eaten. Only he brings life out of death. O Lord, please be fully present! Remember your covenant, and never leave!

Longing eyes satisfied

There is a cure for fickleness. God made you for himself. Until he has you and you have him, you won’t be satisfied with anyone else. He undergirds every pleasant relationship. Without him, the bottom falls out.

Has it ever been this way with you?

Someone wants to be a covenant friend to you but you mistrust them. You look at someone with longing eyes, but if they reciprocate, you reject them. You are attracted to someone. It’s not so much that you love them, but you love that they love you. Or you love what they do for you. You seek the thrill in the chase, and once caught, you are off on a new chase. The bottomless pit binds you within a viscous circle.

Or if people accept that you are not comfortable in your own skin and would want to be your covenant friends anyway, their acceptance of you disqualifies them.

You stay superficial and pride yourself on your kind words and civility, but in your heart you’ve written people off. There might be something you think you need that you hope they will provide. Something you hope to get from them to satisfy that bottomless pit. Once that provision is exhausted, it’s only a matter of time until your mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart, and it won’t be pretty.

Nothing is sadder or more hurtful than duplicity in relationships when you think someone regards you as a person of value only to come to find out that they never really did. They only kept you around for what they could get from you until they depleted you or found a preferred source to fill them up, if that were possible.

By contrast, here is one set apart whose longing eyes were set on pleasing not self but God:

”My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.” ~ Job 23:11-12

“I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin? What would be my portion from God above and my heritage from the Almighty on high?” ~ Job 31:1-2

Job proves that you can enjoy many wonderful gifts from God but value God supremely, the one who gives all gifts.

Because when it was all taken away, he didn’t curse God to his face. He blessed God.

Denying his longing eyes the short term pleasures of sin made him a blameless man of integrity. Job longed to see God through his suffering, and over time, God himself became the sole desire of his longing eyes. He forgave his friends who took him for an imposter. Job didn’t rely on his great possessions, reputation, or rich food. He didn’t look to a wild imagination that conjured up an appetite for sex with longing eyes for someone other than his wife. He didn’t engage in illicit affairs, but it was the Lord God that satisfied him completely. Job depended on God in times of prosperity, but when everything was taken away and God was silent, Job’s dependence grew exponentially. He searched for God until God spoke to him. His soul relied on God alone.

Singing Psalm 141, you understand that your longing eyes need to see clearly such that you long first for the one who made you, the Lord God.

“I call You, LORD, make haste to me;    When You I call, O hear my plea.” ~ Psalm 141:1

What is your plea?

Meaning? Hope? Peace? Joy? Wisdom? Love?

The Lord God himself is your plea and the only one who can satisfy your longing eyes. He doesn’t just give you meaning, hope, peace, joy, wisdom, and love. He gives you himself, the God of meaning, the God of hope, the God of peace, the God of joy, the God of wisdom, the God of love, who is wisdom, who is love.

Single people can have longing eyes for the Lord God, their husband. It is only then that they can have friendships that are loyal and meaningful. When as part of his bride, the church, you have the real deal in the new heavens and the new earth, you won’t have missed not having the shadow of an earthly marriage. Though a special covenant between one man and one woman, marriage is a temporary sign where the two that became one must part at death. It serves and completes its purpose to point to our eternal marriage with the King of kings.

Husbands and wives together can have longing eyes for the Lord God, their husband. It is only then that there will be joy in their marriage that will make them look forward to the permanent marriage when Jesus, the bridegroom, comes for his bride, the church.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” ~ Ephesians 5:31-32

Each looks with longing eyes for what they can give as they each imitate the God who gives.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~ Hebrews 12:1-2

Your longing eyes will be transformed in the blink of an eye to desire the lowly path of following Jesus through whatever deceptions and rejections are necessary, the likes of relational sufferings that only he can fully comprehend. You are waiting in faith, fixing your eyes on him to bring truth and covenant friendship as only he can and at just the right time.

“No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” ~ Revelation 22:3-5

Would you be willing to love again those who used and rejected you, following Jesus’ footprints? Would you look past the suffering and shame that you are required to endure until your longing eyes are satisfied as Jesus shares a place on his throne inviting you to serve and rule alongside him?

Suffering is the train you ride that, once it delivers you to your destination, is needed no more. It ends as your time to live in undisturbed pleasure with the Lord Jesus and the Father begins and never ends.

No matter what suffering you have endured, if it comes to mind at all, it is remembered in the distant past only as a comparative reference point. You bless God to his face forever for the good he brings forth in Christ even from sin, sorrow, and suffering.

Because you cannot physically see Jesus now, you continually look for him with eager, longing eyes until the day dawns when you will have unsurpassed joy at seeing him face-to-face.

“And so to you, O sovereign LORD,   I look with longing eyes;Do not leave me defenseless now;    On You my soul relies.” ~ Psalm 141:8

December 15-22, 2023


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