Seeker: “To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!”
Preacher: The ancient called and chosen people would look up, assuming that the Kingdom of Heaven must be above, geographically, everything that is down below. Above is light, the mystery of day and night; and prophets climbed up tall mountains to be closer to the Divine. So obviously, when one wanted to look to the Lord God, one looked up. Even when space exploration proved there was no heaven in the stars, and no boundary forming a divide between reality and divine realms – still we looked up to the heavens for the Lord God. And to solidify that understanding, the Divine in the form of Jesus Christ came down to us from on high, and then returned there. Interestingly, there are those who look up when they prayer, hoping to catch sight of the Divine. And those who look down, in humbleness and obedience.
Seeker: “As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, 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 upon us.”
Preacher: Aside from any human understanding however, we are the Lord God’s. We look for the Lord any and every where we can, hoping to catch sight of Divinity, and glean understanding and Divine wisdom from that encounter. In ancient times slaves and servants literally lived and died at the whim and command of their masters or owners. If we see Divinity in any shape or form when we look, we consider ourselves blessed and worthy.
Seeker: “Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.”
Preacher: Relief, that is what we are seeking. Relief from the worry and toil that is in our lives. Many of the psalms are laments for what is going on. We have heard many laments from the psalmist. We know that King David felt he was pressed upon. That he had to divide his kingdom and his kingship over and over again. And he had to endure the lessons that the Divine set before him, and see the error of his ways. Those errors were blatantly clear to those around him – courtiers, family & friends, the prophets & religious leaders of the time, and his enemies. No wonder he cried out for relief!
Seeker: “Our soul has had more than its fill of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.” ( Psalm 123)
Preacher: When we read the words of the psalmist, and see ourselves in them, we too can lament and appeal to the Lord. We can use the words of the psalmist, or we can use our own words. Or, we can let the Holy Spirit plead our case at the Throne of the Divine. Because Jesus came to us, we can come to the Lord God, and speak for ourselves. We can speak the words that tell of our sorrow and anguish, our toil & trials, our fears & sins, and our joys and celebrations. Sometimes the psalms are hard to read because they echo discord we feel in our lives. Or the psalms of joy grate against our feelings of sadness. And we can feel guilty when we feel joy but hear the psalms of sadness that tell of the experience of others. The psalms are complex. But they are an incredible gift that comes to us from the psalmist, and were inspired by the Divine!
Seeker: Shalom & Selah, Preacher. Shalom & Selah!