1 “To You I lift up my eyes,
O You who are enthroned in the heavens!
2 Behold, 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 is gracious to us.
3 Be gracious to us, O LORD, be gracious to us,
For we are greatly filled with contempt.
4 Our soul is greatly filled
With the scoffing of those who are at ease,
And with the contempt of the proud.”
First of all I have to say, “Thank You” to my Father in heaven for the reminder to keep my eyes LIFTED upward so I will not be tempted, or even taken captive, by what is going on around me. Yes, we do need to be very aware of our surroundings but not to the point that we neglect to give praise to the One who wants to lead us on His chosen path for our lives. The opening of this psalm reminds me to take time to worship the Lord of lords and the King of kings. Yes, He is enthroned on high in the heavens, but is He enthroned on our hearts? My dear brothers and sisters, that is the critical question. If He is not enthroned on our hearts, we will surely fall. We will surely be confused, and even angry, regarding the events going on around us. Yes, we should have righteous indignation as to the evil in the world, but we are to seek the Lord in dealing with the enemy and not lean on our own understanding! “Hate evil, you who love the LORD, Who preserves the souls of His godly ones; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalms 97:10)
Jesus was angry at the evil in the temple, rightly so! And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He said* to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you are making it a robbers' den." (Matthew 21:12-13) “BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger,” (Ephesians 4:26)
Let me ask you a question. Would it be appropriate for us to do what Jesus did in the above paragraph? I think we’d all agree that it would not because we have not been given the authority from God the Father to do so. There are many of us who really would like to do so because we feel the grieving of our Lord as to what His church has been turned into, but we cannot act on our own accord, it would be sin. We can even feel the anger that the Lord feels, but that anger should cause us to pray for those who are in sin and causing others to stumble. I know this isn’t easy. As I look around us today, our leaders have fallen into apostasy, our churches are in moral decay and the Lord is being cheaply sold by false prophetic teachers promising healings, miracles, prosperity, etc. (If these teachers and leaders stay constantly focused on prophecy, healings, miracles and prosperity, then be aware of what our Lord proclaimed in Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” (What is the will of the Father? That His Son will be exalted in the churches. He is to be THE ALL ENCOMPASSING FOCUS and not the gifts (1 Corinthians 13:1-2)!
"MANY will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' (Matthew 7:22-23) Did you note the word “MANY”? How can that be? Because Satan tries to be an imitator of God and comes very close – he is a counterfeit that looks like the real thing and even his demons can actually look like real spiritual leaders, it says so in 2 Corinthians 11:14, “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”
Do we conduct ourselves as servants of the Most High God? I actually prefer the term bond servant because it reminds me that it is voluntary on my part to choose to serve Him. Jesus Himself proclaimed to be a bond servant in Philippians 2:7, “but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” I WANT to be in bondage to Him alone! I am not a slave who was taken captive against my will! If you feel that serving the Lord is much like being a “slave” please know that the enemy is in full attack mode against you! The Lord Jesus Christ willingly gave His life, in exchange for your life! Instead of you (or me) having to suffer the excruciating scourging and beatings and crucifixion, He volunteered to go in our place and purchase our freedom from slavery to Satan and to set us free through His blood of redemption! All of His ways are given to us out of love for us, to keep us safe, to protect us and deliver us through this world into our eternal home! Will our walk always be easy? No! But just as a baby has to learn how to walk, what to eat, how to talk, what is safe and unsafe, so do we. And in the process there is correction and discipline. “But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:8)
That discipline will begin to cause us to fall deeply in love with Jesus our Lord. We will come to a full surrender as His bride and nothing else will matter but Him who loved us and gave Himself for us! Our desire OUT OF SHEER LOVE for Him will be to walk a godly life. But there is the warning in how Satan will come against us because he hates all those who really love Jesus! The warning is found in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” That persecution can come from family, friends, church members and those unsaved that you work with at a job! But in that persecution the Lord you love will give you victory to overcome the hurt.
Does God give us everything we want? Thank goodness HE DOES NOT! He gives us what we NEED and then blesses us with blessings we could never even imagine! “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,” (Ephesians 3:20) Don’t grow weary, there is such sweet fellowship in waiting upon the Lord! Are we content to wait for our answer or to receive direction? Are we content to just be in His presence without wanting something from Him? Are we content to worship Him just because we love Him with all our being?
Do you notice anything that might seem out of context in verse 3? The psalmist is worshipping the Most High when suddenly conviction is brought upon him and he asks that the Lord be gracious to him and the people because they are filled with contempt towards those who are filled with contempt towards them! Are you that honest with God? Or do you pray in a religious spirit that does not allow yourself to be convicted of feelings, actions, words, etc.? Do you justify your part because of what ungodly things may confront you? That is the natural tendency of man and easy for us to reside in. I know that it is much easier to be the victim than to be gracious and filled with compassion and forgiveness. I can’t stay in that place for long, however, because the Holy Spirit reminds me of God’s truth! “Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.” (Psalms 139:4) Conviction! And I know I can’t move past this place without His help so along with asking forgiveness I submit whatever it is into His hands and praise Him for His amazing love in spite of my weaknesses. This isn’t always a one time action, but Psalm 139 assures us that God is in control and understands what is going on in our hearts even more so than we do. I highly encourage you to spend some time in it today, absorb the truth of the psalmist’s words and rejoice in His everlasting love for those who seek Him!
Please do not glide by the above paragraph. Maybe I should have stated the words the Holy Spirit spoke to me at the beginning of that paragraph. But I suspect the Lord was preparing our hearts to hear Him before the obvious was spoken. What did I hear? I heard the Holy Spirit speak and it was very disturbing to hear His words. “My children have become entitlement minded. My children have contempt for those who are against them.” Please read those words again. Did the Lord have contempt for those who were against Him? No, He prayed for those who despitefully used Him and persecuted Him. At the worst moment ever He cried out, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do!” Are we not to be imitators of our Good Shepherd? “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
What sorrow the Lord feels, but also anguish against His own! The Lord will discipline His children for these things! Our “pride” is the same sin as those whose “pride” opposes believers. It comes from the same source, evil!
The security we have in Christ should bring us into a state of humility not pride. Our security only came through the blood of Jesus Christ, a painful disgusting mutilation of His body that He VOLUNTARILY gave for us! However, even that sacrificial act didn’t secure our eternity. Was it enough? ABSOLUTELY! Is there anything else we can add to it? NO! But we do need to receive it. Receiving it means that we have acknowledged the great sinfulness that is within us and not only ask for forgiveness, but turn away from it and literally become a changed person, a new creation in Christ! We now have the mind of Christ! “For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM ? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16) Notice that the Apostle Paul reminds us that we do not instruct the Lord, but we are to be submitted to His authority and receive His guidance through the Holy Spirit who resides in us!
“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
If we aren’t submitted to the Lord and are acting and reacting in the same ways of worldly people it is no wonder the world has contempt for “Christians”! So what exactly is contempt? The word used in Hebrew means “springing from evil, prosperity or judgment”. I can certainly see and feel the pain of that in my soul. Believers in the Almighty God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have always been reviled and hated. Those who are not willing to submit to the authority of the Almighty God will always hate those who do. If a believer is poor or sick, they will look down on them with contempt and proclaim that “their God” doesn’t care for them. However, both the unbeliever and believer do not understand that prosperity in God’s kingdom does not depend on physical and material riches. Our inheritance is the Kingdom of God! We are heirs to His throne! We are not to look through secular lenses but through the eyes of faith, just as Abraham. (Hebrews 11:9-10 NAS) “By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)
If you look up the definition in a dictionary you will see that the word “contempt” means the “state of mind of one who despises”. Yes, they are the “proud”. They are proud of the fact that they alone are their own gods. They are proud that they bow their knees to no one. They are so proud that they are willing to destroy society in order to be the center of attention and follow no man’s rules. The sad fact is, they are under submission to Satan and what they consider as no rules only applies to their behaviors. They really want total dominion to evil and thus despise anything that is holy and moral and pure. Do they realize this? I don’t believe that most of them do. They just want to fulfill the desires of their flesh. But there are the leaders who know exactly the plan of destruction and who their leader is and there is no point to which they will not go to accomplish that plan. Life has no meaning for them. They have been brainwashed that their allegiance to an ideal is the epitome of their existence. Sound familiar? I see it all around us today in the masses who are protesting and involved in our political process. And, yes, it is the same evil that Islam extremists adhere to! The enemy disguises himself in many ways to try and hide his identity, but for those who are rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ, they are called to walk in the Spirit and ready to do battle!
But we who are believers must be honest, not only with ourselves but especially with God, and admit our hypocrisy! While we cannot control the actions of others, we must present ourselves before the Lord and consecrate ourselves, allowing ourselves to be made holy as He is holy. “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love” (Ephesians 1:4) “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:27) “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;” (1 Peter 1:15) because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY."
(1 Peter 1:16) Now I don’t know about you, but I know that I fall short of God’s holiness every day! But that last verse in 1 Peter 1:16 reminds me that it is Christ in me that is holy, therefore He is doing the work...IF I ALLOW HIM! It is done, but the question is, am I available to Him to receive it and walk it out? Only you can answer this question in your own life and I hope you seriously spend some time with the Lord allowing Him to minister to you today. Let the words of the Apostle Paul be an encouragement to you today, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,” (Ephesians 4:1-2)
You and I cannot save the whole world, but if the Lord chooses to work through us on any given day, He may touch someone’s heart and they may receive Him as their Savior and Lord. It won’t be because of our “holiness” but because His holiness is alive in us and has a living vessel to flow through. They will see Jesus in us and what does that look like; they will see holiness consistently produced in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – the Fruit of the Spirit. It is not for us to be glorified but that He be glorified in this world. I cannot change anyone (including myself) but He can. There is a scripture in Revelations that puts this all into context that, hopefully, will help us wrap our minds around the desire of the Lord for us. "Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy." (Revelation 22:11) The people I come in contact with have a choice, just as you and I have a choice. Can we walk in Christ with love without reacting if they choose evil? “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,” (2 Peter 3:11) “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)
The calling of a true believer in Jesus Christ is to give honor and glory and thanks to the One who sits upon the throne of all humanity. I am reminded when I do this of Psalm 37:23-24, “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.” Can you see His hand in your life? Are you allowing Him to establish your steps? Are you navigating some difficult paths right now? Do not fear, LOOK UP! “...for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU," so that we confidently say, "THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?" (Hebrews 13:5-6)
The Apostle Paul is indeed a great example to us. He imparts God’s heart to us and challenges us constantly to examine ourselves! “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5) What comes to mind right now is another great apostle, who like us, had a hard time surrendering to the Lord’s plans at first. Yes, it is the Apostle Peter. After Jesus returned to the earth for 50 days he met with Peter and restored him and Peter was never the same again, he never looked back! Listen to these questions that he challenges us with. “For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.” (1 Peter 2:20) “For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.” (1 Peter 3:17)
What is the psalmist really wanting to convey to the Lord when he states “For we are greatly filled with contempt.”? He then details why those who are believers are struggling with their feelings of unlove against others. “With the scoffing of those who are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.”
We who are true Bible believers and hold up God’s Word as holy are hated today. There are laws passed that are diametrically opposed to the tenants of God’s Word and the Supreme Court has agreed with them. We who are faithful and desire with all of our hearts to keep those declarations of truth are hated today. We are seen as intolerant, bigots and much more. There is great contempt for us. Didn’t the Lord warn us that this would be in
1 John 3:13 “Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.” John 15:18-21, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.”
Falling totally in love with Our Lord is the key. There will be a strength given to you to endure the contempt and stand firm giving our Bridegroom all the glory. Zechariah 4:6 “…This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts.” The power to endure will be the Holy Spirit living inside of your heart!
Being disliked, despised and rejected is unpleasant and has been the life of a believer ever since sin entered the Garden of Eden. But the psalmist is teaching us that we are not alone, that we are to cry out and wait for our Lord to respond, to comfort us, to lead us, to give us discernment and wisdom, but most of all, strength to endure and continue on the path that the Lord has laid out before us. Notice these words of the psalm, “So our eyes look to the LORD our God, until He is gracious to us.” We stay the course! We continually look to the author of our salvation! “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
How do we do that? We have been clothed with the armor of God, are you dressed for battle? (Ephesians 6:10-18) To see more on prayer and the Armor of God click this link: http://www.atthefeetofjesus.net/prayer. The Apostle Paul gives us a very clear and firm admonition that most believers have forgotten. “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:4) The Lord Himself spoke of this to the prophet Jeremiah, here are the words Jeremiah was told to speak to the people, Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
Do you KNOW the Lord, truly know Him? Are His thoughts your thoughts? His ways your ways? "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts”. (Isaiah 55:8-9) The prophet Isaiah admonished his people with these precious words, “Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6) This is what I hear the Holy Spirit telling me to proclaim, “Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6)
My dear brothers and sisters, the days are getting darker and the times more perilous. There is no man which can save us from the path of destruction we are on. There is only one hope and that is through the ONE, JESUS CHRIST! Just knowing about Him won’t do you any good. Just going to church won’t help you. Living a moral lifestyle (which is good) isn’t going to redeem you. Redemption only comes by the hand of God and is a miracle! Helping the poor and the needy (which again are good deeds) won’t earn you salvation. There is only one way! Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)
Years ago some new neighbors moved into our neighborhood. When we were together one day they asked if we were believers. When we said “yes” they then asked if we had been “born again”. At that point I wondered what church they were attending and what they were being taught. So, can I use a moment here to clarify something for any of you who may be experiencing the same confusing questions? The term Christian means a follower of Jesus Christ, one who has seen his sin, repented of the sin in his life, and has asked that Jesus Christ be Lord of his life. A follower is a student or disciple. A student or disciple commits to learning all about this new life he has been given so that he is walking in obedience. "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) One who has truly made this decision is filled with the Spirit and has been born again, born into the family of God, that is why he is a Christ follower!
So “born again” and “Christian” are technically the same thing. Why do I say technically? Can we be honest with each other? So many have claimed to be “Christian” that the term really has lost significance among society today. There are so many claiming to be “Christian” who are living in every kind of sin that the scripture says those who practice these things will not see the kingdom of God! “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:28-32) “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” (2 Timothy 3:2-5)
So my dear friends, are you sanctified, set apart unto Christ, and separated from the ways of the world? Is your heart open to be a “friend” to the Samaritan that needs help? Not because you have to because you are a Christian, but because your heart is filled with the love of God and longs to show compassion on the hurting? I know these are challenging questions. They are questions that the Lord challenges me with daily. I need Him to remind me daily that I am a new creation in Christ so that I do not focus inward on my selfish motives but keep my eyes lifted up to see Him on the throne! I need reminded to worship Him alone and to bow my knee to His desire! Jesus clearly stated who the true worshippers are! "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:23-24)
Abba Father, I bow my knee before You and thank You for loving me, holding me, comforting me and challenging me daily to lift up my eyes and see the salvation of the Lord! Your ways are always perfect but we don’t always follow You where You lead. Please forgive us for our disobedience! Thank You that You hear my cry and not only show me the errors of my ways, but You continue to teach me through Your wisdom and discernment. Oh Lord, how I long to be in Your presence face to face but thank You that You constantly remind me that this earthly place is the training ground that prepares me and tests me to see if I am truly walking in faith! That is unpleasant to experience but I am so thankful that You count me worthy! Thank You Holy Spirit as You walk with me moment by moment, correcting me and encouraging me. I am never alone, YOu are always with me! Thank You that I know You hold me firmly in Your hand and that no matter what I may see with my natural eyesight, I can trust You to never me! I love You with every fiber of my being! This I pray in the blessed, holy name of the One and only Messiah, Jesus Christ! Amen.