The Psalms of Ascent are a set of fifteen psalms that were traditionally sung as priests entered the temple, and Jews journeyed to the Holy Land to celebrate the Passover Festival. They offer hope, encouragement, and peace in a time of uncertainty. Today we will read and discuss Psalm 123, the fourth psalm in the psalms of ascents.
The fourth psalm of ascents is one of patient expectancy, with an overall message of hopeful anticipation in what God will do.
So far in the psalms of ascents, we’ve seen a progression of faith and confidence in the Lord.
- Psalm 120 was a cry of distress to the Lord
- Psalm 121 was seeking God for His help
- Psalm 122 was a prayer for peace
- Psalm 123 is eager anticipation of the prayer’s response from God
In verse 2, we are to look to God as a servant or slave looks to their master.
We look to God with devotion, never taking our focus off of Him. We aren’t worried about the distractions of the world, because our faith is in God and nothing else.
We are solely dependent on Him to be our provider and protector. He is where our help comes from, He shows us mercy, and we know that His mercy will come.
We are at the mercy of His will and His time. These passages promise us that God will grant us mercy, but we don’t know what that will look like or when it will come. We submit to His will, and we submit to His perfect timing.
PRAY WITH BOLD INTENSITY
Verse 3 repeats the plea to “have mercy on us”, signifying that we are to ask for what we seek, and ask it boldly. I am reminded of Jesus’ command in Matthew 7:7-8 which says,
Jesus tells us to ask, seek, and knock – a prayer of increasing intensity and boldness. This is what the psalmist demonstrates here in Psalm 123. He is fervently asking with boldness for God to deliver him from contempt and arrogance.
The promise is clear: No matter what our suffering is, we can look expectantly and ask intensely for favor from the Lord our God. he will respond in His time and in His will. Don’t give up.