Sunday, June 29, 2014

Reflections on Psalms 136

 Psalms 136(Contemporary English Version)
  1. Praise the LORD! He is good. God's love never fails.
  2. Praise the God of all gods. God's love never fails.
  3. Praise the Lord of lords. God's love never fails.
  4. Only God works great miracles. God's love never fails.
  5. With wisdom he made the sky. God's love never fails.
  6. The Lord stretched the earth over the ocean. God's love never fails.
  7. He made the bright lights in the sky. God's love never fails.
  8. He lets the sun rule each day. God's love never fails.
  9. He lets the moon and the stars rule each night. God's love never fails.
  10. God struck down the first-born in every Egyptian family. God's love never fails.
  11. He rescued Israel from Egypt. God's love never fails.
  12. God used his great strength and his powerful arm. God's love never fails.
  13. He split the Red Sea apart. God's love never fails.
  14. The Lord brought Israel safely through the sea. God's love never fails.
  15. He destroyed the Egyptian king and his army there. God's love never fails.
  16. The Lord led his people through the desert. God's love never fails.
  17. Our God defeated mighty kings. God's love never fails.
  18. And he killed famous kings. God's love never fails.
  19. One of them was Sihon, king of the Amorites. God's love never fails.
  20. Another was King Og of Bashan. God's love never fails.
  21. God took away their land. God's love never fails.
  22. He gave their land to Israel, the people who serve him. God's love never fails.
  23. God saw the trouble we were in. God's love never fails.
  24. He rescued us from our enemies. God's love never fails.
  25. He gives food to all who live. God's love never fails.
  26. Praise God in heaven! God's love never fails.

This psalm is no doubt antiphonal in nature with one choir singing "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good," while another choir responds, "His love is eternal." "His love is eternal" is the response for all 26 verses suggesting that God's love is the motivation for each statement in the psalm, a thought that might be extended to include the idea that His love is the motivation for all things. As in the psalm, His love motivates our praise and thankfulness as it also motivated creation, God's deliverance of Israel, and His giving to Israel a land of her own.

It is not a stretch to accept that love is God's motivation for everything He does, for the Apostle John tells us this is His nature, for "God is love." (1 John 4:8) Do we then say that love also motivates God's judgment? Or do we say that somehow God's love is involved when bad things happen to good people? Yes, in either case. Do we understand it? Not really for our capacity for love is not as great nor is our ability to understand. We may presume to understand and accuse God of being malicious and hateful, but it is because of our inability to understand and attempt to hold God to our lower standards.

As with so much about God, we can only accept by faith what we cannot understand.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Reflections on Psalms 135

 Psalms 135(Contemporary English Version)
  1. Shout praises to the LORD! You are his servants, so praise his name.
  2. All who serve in the temple of the LORD our God,
  3. come and shout praises. Praise the name of the LORD! He is kind and good.
  4. He chose the family of Jacob and the people of Israel for his very own.
  5. The LORD is much greater than any other god.
  6. He does as he chooses in heaven and on earth and deep in the sea.
  7. The LORD makes the clouds rise from far across the earth, and he makes lightning to go with the rain. Then from his secret place he sends out the wind.
  8. The LORD killed the first-born of people and animals in the land of Egypt.
  9. God used miracles and wonders to fight the king of Egypt and all of his officials.
  10. He destroyed many nations and killed powerful kings,
  11. including King Sihon of the Amorites and King Og of Bashan. He conquered every kingdom in the land of Canaan
  12. and gave their property to his people Israel.
  13. The name of the LORD will be remembered forever, and he will be famous for all time to come.
  14. The LORD will bring justice and show mercy to all who serve him.
  15. Idols of silver and gold are made and worshiped in other nations.
  16. They have a mouth and eyes, but they can't speak or see.
  17. They are completely deaf, and they can't breathe.
  18. Everyone who makes idols and all who trust them will end up as helpless as their idols.
  19. Everyone in Israel, come praise the LORD! All the family of Aaron
  20. and all the tribe of Levi, come praise the LORD! All of his worshipers, come praise the LORD.
  21. Praise the LORD from Zion! He lives here in Jerusalem. Shout praises to the LORD!

What are our motives for worshiping the Lord? Are they focused on self or on God? The psalmist in Psalms 135 points first to God's goodness as a motive to praise Him. Then he points to God's care for His people and finally on God's greatness over other gods.

The call to worship in verses 1 and 2 is directed to the priests and Levites. They are to praise the Lord, "for the LORD is good; sing praise to His name, for it is delightful." (135:3) In verse 4 the reason for praising the Lord is His care for Israel, for He made "Israel as His treasured possession." This thought is expanded on in verses 8-12: He struck down Egypt allowing Israel to escape slavery and struck down many nations giving Israel "their land as an inheritance." (135:12) These events stand out in Israel's history as the prime example of God's care for her. But all who follow God and worship Him have key examples to which they can point of how God has cared for them.

The third point of the psalm is God's greatness over all other gods. "For I know that the LORD is great; our Lord is greater than all gods." (135:5) This thought is expanded upon somewhat in verses 6 & 7: "The LORD does whatever He pleases in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all the depths. He causes the clouds to rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain and brings the wind from His storehouses." The emphases here being on God's power over nature. But the thought is further expanded on in verses 15-18. In these verses the emphases is on the impotence of the idols that many worship. They are made by human hands and "have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear; indeed, there is no breath in their mouths." (135:16-17) They are, in fact, a reflection of those who make them.

This is the reverse of the way it is with God. Those who worship Him are a reflection of Him. We are made in His image whereas the idols are made in the image of their human makers. They have no attributes that have not been given them by their human makers and no power to do anything on behalf of their makers. But the one who has made all things has unlimited power to do all things on behalf of His worshipers. This is reason to "revere the Lord" and to "praise the Lord." (135:20)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Reflections on Psalms 134

 Psalms 134(Contemporary English Version)
  1. (A song for worship.) Everyone who serves the LORD, come and offer praises. Everyone who has gathered in his temple tonight,
  2. lift your hands in prayer toward his holy place and praise the LORD.
  3. The LORD is the Creator of heaven and earth, and I pray that the LORD will bless you from Zion.

This psalm serves as a benediction as the worshipers leave festivities at the temple to go home. They invoke praise to the Lord on the part of the priests who have night watch duty at the temple. "Lift up your hands in the holy place," they say to the priests, and "praise the Lord!" (134:2) Is there significance to the lifting up of the hands? The lifting of hands signifies a lifting of the worshiper in communion with God.

With the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Christian believer, worship is not limited to a place or time. But for the Old Testament worshiper the temple was where they met God in worship. It was as if the priests who had night duty were encouraged to do more than simply keep watch but rather to continue the worship that had been taking place while the congregation was there and continue to commune with God on behalf of the people while they were not present.

Then the psalm concluded with a blessing for the priests, "May the LORD, Maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Reflections on Psalms 133

 Psalms 133(Contemporary English Version)
  1. (A song for worship.) It is truly wonderful when relatives live together in peace.
  2. It is as beautiful as olive oil poured on Aaron's head and running down his beard and the collar of his robe.
  3. It is like the dew from Mount Hermon, falling on Zion's mountains, where the LORD has promised to bless his people with life forevermore.

It is both good and pleasant, David says, "when brothers can live together!" (133:1) In the Hebrew there is more behind this statement than merely living together, however. It speaks of living together in unity and in peace. This is what is intended by God - that man can live together with a respect and love for one another that dispels conflict and strife. Is it a unity in which all are in agreement? Not likely! But it is one in which the respect for one another is of greater importance than whether or not there is common agreement on everything.

This type of community is not only God's intent, it can only be accomplished through Him. Such a community not only reflects the relationship among brothers but a common relationship with God. Furthermore, it evidences obedience to the law which is summed up in love for God and love for neighbor. Love for God and man not only summarizes the law of Moses but the "Perfect law" of liberty that Jesus gave.

David likened it to the fine oil used to anoint the priest and also to the dew of Mount Hermon. One suggests God's blessing and the other an environment that is continually prosperous and fruitful. In verse 3 David concludes, "For there the LORD has appointed the blessing--life forevermore." A difficult statement to understand, but it suggests that the living of brothers together in unity is blessed by God and is the nature of life together that will be eternal.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Reflections on Psalms 132

 Psalms 132(Contemporary English Version)
  1. (A song for worship.) Our LORD, don't forget David and how he suffered.
  2. Mighty God of Jacob, remember how he promised:
  3. "I won't go home or crawl into bed
  4. or close my eyelids,
  5. until I find a home for you, the mighty LORD God of Jacob."
  6. When we were in Ephrath, we heard that the sacred chest was somewhere near Jaar.
  7. Then we said, "Let's go to the throne of the LORD and worship at his feet."
  8. Come to your new home, LORD, you and the sacred chest with all of its power.
  9. Let victory be like robes for the priests; let your faithful people celebrate and shout.
  10. David is your chosen one, so don't reject him.
  11. You made a solemn promise to David, when you said, "I, the LORD, promise that someone in your family will always be king.
  12. If they keep our agreement and follow my teachings, then someone in your family will rule forever."
  13. You have gladly chosen Zion as your home, our LORD.
  14. You said, "This is my home! I will live here forever.
  15. I will bless Zion with food, and even the poor will eat until they are full.
  16. Victory will be like robes for the priests, and its faithful people will celebrate and shout.
  17. I will give mighty power to the kingdom of David. Each one of my chosen kings will shine like a lamp
  18. and wear a sparkling crown. But I will disgrace their enemies."

There is no clear idea of when this psalm was written or what the occasion might have been. Whatever the setting, the people sought God's favor in their worship by reminding Him of His covenant with David. "LORD, remember David and all the hardships he endured," they said. (132:1) Though David had a number of hardships in his lifetime, the ones to which the psalm refers were those he endured to established the temple as God's dwelling place. He vowed not to rest or attend to his own comforts until "I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob." (132:5)

As the psalm continues, it reminds God that they had recovered the ark of the covenant that had been abandoned in the field of Jaar and took it to Jerusalem as His resting place. Then they began to worship the Lord there. And again the Lord is asked, in 132:10, to remember His covenant with David. Through the remainder of the psalm the blessings of that covenant are spelled out:
  • The LORD swore an oath to David, a promise He will not abandon: "I will set one of your descendants on your throne.
  • For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His home
  • I will abundantly bless its food; I will satisfy its needy with bread.
  • I will clothe its priests with salvation, and its godly people will shout for joy.
  • There I will make a horn grow for David; I have prepared a lamp for My anointed one.
  • I will clothe his enemies with shame, but the crown he wears will be glorious."
Our worship of God always has a historical context. Regardless of who we are or of our understanding of the context, we are aware of what God has done for people before us. This provides us enough faith to approach God in worship hoping He will do for us what He has done for others. As we continue to worship Him, we build our own historical context which adds our own experiences with God to those that came before us. History is important in our worship whether we acknowledge it or not. This psalm was establishing a context for worship on the foundation of God's historical relationship with David and with Israel.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Reflections on Psalms 131

 Psalms 131(Contemporary English Version)
  1. (A song by David for worship.) I am not conceited, LORD, and I don't waste my time on impossible schemes.
  2. But I have learned to feel safe and satisfied, just like a young child on its mother's lap.
  3. People of Israel, you must trust the LORD now and forever.

David had learned an important lesson that he shared in this psalm. It can be summed up in this way: "Quite trying to play God!" This is the core issue with pride which is essentially independence from God. It is assuming to have the answers or to be able to find the answers to life's difficult questions. Questions that only God can answer. The assumption of arriving at the answers to these questions inevitably leads to the rejection of God. This is extreme pride which holds oneself above God assuming to know better than Him.

David said, "I do not get involved with things too great or too difficult for me." (131:1) He humbled himself enough to acknowledge that there were some things best left to God, trusting Him to have the answers. In doing so, he found peace and calm, and his soul was quieted. He likened it to a child who is calmed when comforted by its mother. The one who refuses to turn loose of the unanswerable questions and leave them in God's hands, trusting them with Him, never finds this calm, this quieting of the soul.

David concluded with a word to the wise for his countrymen - "Israel, put your hope in the LORD, both now and forever."

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Reflections on Psalms 130

 Psalms 130(Contemporary English Version)
  1. (A song for worship.) From a sea of troubles I call out to you, LORD.
  2. Won't you please listen as I beg for mercy?
  3. If you kept record of our sins, no one could last long.
  4. But you forgive us, and so we will worship you.
  5. With all my heart, I am waiting, LORD, for you! I trust your promises.
  6. I wait for you more eagerly than a soldier on guard duty waits for the dawn. Yes, I wait more eagerly than a soldier on guard duty waits for the dawn.
  7. Israel, trust the LORD! He is always merciful, and he has the power to save you.
  8. Israel, the LORD will save you from all of your sins.

If the Lord "considered sins . . who could stand?" This is the question the psalmist raised and answered by saying, "But with You (the Lord) there is forgiveness." It was with this understanding that the psalmist was bold enough to approach the Lord in prayer, asking Him to, "listen to my voice; let Your ears be attentive to my cry for help." (130:2) Not only was he emboldened to cry out to the Lord because he knew the Lord forgave sins, but he was desperate for the Lord's help. It was from "the depths" that he called out to the Lord for help.

And then he waited. Having called out to the Lord for help he had done all he could do. Now he must wait for the Lord to redeem Israel. He was as fervent in waiting as he had been in prayer, waiting for the Lord, "more than watchmen for the morning." (130:6) He could wait patiently because he knew that with the Lord, "there is faithful love, and with Him is redemption in abundance." (130:7)

It takes only a little faith to call out to the Lord for help, but it requires an enduring faith to wait on the Lord, trusting He will come through. The Lord knows whether it is best to respond to the need right away or after a while, but I suspect He often waits to respond to test our faith and encourage it to grow it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Reflections on Psalms 129

 Psalms 129(Contemporary English Version)
  1. (A song for worship.) Since the time I was young, enemies have often attacked! Let everyone in Israel say:
  2. "Since the time I was young, enemies have often attacked! But they have not defeated me,
  3. though my back is like a field that has just been plowed."
  4. The LORD always does right, and he has set me free from the ropes of those cruel people.
  5. I pray that all who hate the city of Zion will be made ashamed and forced to turn and run.
  6. May they be like grass on the flat roof of a house, grass that dries up as soon as it sprouts.
  7. Don't let them be like wheat gathered in bundles.
  8. And don't let anyone who passes by say to them, "The LORD bless you! I give you my blessing in the name of the LORD."

There have been few periods in Israel's history in which she was not the victim of Anti–Semitism. It is not surprising, therefore, that this theme is found among the pilgrimage psalms. There are two parts to the psalm: thankfulness for God's deliverance in the past and prayer for retribution on her enemies.

Israel's enemies had often attack her and had been cruel as if a plowman had plowed furrows down their backs. But her enemies had never prevailed against her. This is because the righteous Lord "has cut the ropes of the wicked." (129:4) Though they were God's chosen people, they were not immune to hardship. But God did keep the hardships from prevailing against them which is also true for us. Though we would like to be free from hardship and sometimes blame God for allowing it, we must remember that God promises to take us through hardship not keep us from it. In God's wisdom He knows this to be better for us than to be exempt from hardship.

But though we have God's help to prevail against hardship, we want justice for those who are responsible for those hardships. And this was Israel's prayer: "Let all who hate Zion be driven back in disgrace." (129:5) Furthermore, she prayed that God would make them like "grass on the rooftops." (129:6) Grass that grew on the flat rooftops of Middle Eastern houses had no depth of soil so it was soon scorched by the hot sun and withered. It had no chance to grow to any sizable amount and certainly not so it could be reaped. It did not warrant a blessing by those who passed by. This is what Israel wished for her enemies. May they not prosper but instead may they wither away and be gone. Certainly may no one say a blessing on them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Reflections on Psalms 128

 Psalms 128(Contemporary English Version)
  1. (A song for worship.) The LORD will bless you if you respect him and obey his laws.
  2. Your fields will produce, and you will be happy and all will go well.
  3. Your wife will be as fruitful as a grapevine, and just as an olive tree is rich with olives, your home will be rich with healthy children.
  4. That is how the LORD will bless everyone who respects him.
  5. I pray that the LORD will bless you from Zion and let Jerusalem prosper as long as you live.
  6. May you live long enough to see your grandchildren. Let's pray for peace in Israel!

This pilgrimage psalm addresses the family. It begins with a statement of the blessings received by those who revere the Lord and walk in His ways, and ends with a prayer for continued blessings.

The one who reveres the Lord and walks in His ways can expect two blessings in particular: to eat what his hands have worked for and to have many children. The prayer for continued blessing asks that the Lord will allow them to see "prosperity in Jerusalem" throughout their lives and for longevity of life to enjoy their grandchildren.

As we ponder these blessings for those who revere the Lord and walk in His ways, we wonder about the exceptions. Our observations of life tell us that these blessings do not always come to those who revere the Lord and walk in His ways. The knee jerk reaction is to assume that those for whom it does not hold true have sin in their lives that blocks these blessings. But Jesus taught otherwise. This cannot be assumed. The question is raised, then, of whether or not we can depend on God. And the response of scripture is that we can depend on God to be good - all the time. As Mark 10:18 says, "There is none good but one, that is, God." Scripture also teaches us that we can depend on God to love us - all the time. 1 John 4:8 says, "The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love."

What does this have to do with the question of God's dependability? If it cannot be said to always be true that those who revere the Lord and walk in His ways will have the blessings mentioned in this psalm, of what relevance is Mark 10:18 and 1 John 4:8? They assurance us that while our reverence and faithfulness to God may not result in these particular blessings, we can depend on receiving God's blessings, though they may be of another nature.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Reflections on Psalms 127

 Psalms 127(Contemporary English Version)
  1. (A song by Solomon for worship.) Without the help of the LORD it is useless to build a home or to guard a city.
  2. It is useless to get up early and stay up late in order to earn a living. God takes care of his own, even while they sleep.
  3. Children are a blessing and a gift from the LORD.
  4. Having a lot of children to take care of you in your old age is like a warrior with a lot of arrows.
  5. The more you have, the better off you will be, because they will protect you when your enemies attack with arguments.

This pilgrimage psalm is from Solomon and has much the same tone as Ecclesiastes. Using examples of building a house, civil defense, general labor, and building a family, Solomon makes the point that all endeavors apart from God are futile. In other words, "Much is nothing if God is not in it."

What are we to make of these claims? Surely houses are built every day without the Lord's involvement and are completed successfully and do not fall down. But why do we build houses? Certainly for shelter, but is that all that is involved? Is there anything man does that does not have his happiness as an ultimate aim? Solomon tells us, however, that all of these endeavors apart from God are futile efforts toward achieving happiness. Happiness and satisfaction in life are illusive apart from God.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Reflections on Psalms 126

 Psalms 126(Contemporary English Version)
  1. (A song for worship.) It seemed like a dream when the LORD brought us back to the city of Zion.
  2. We celebrated with laughter and joyful songs. In foreign nations it was said, "The LORD has worked miracles for his people."
  3. And so we celebrated because the LORD had indeed worked miracles for us.
  4. Our LORD, we ask you to bless our people again, and let us be like streams in the Southern Desert.
  5. We cried as we went out to plant our seeds. Now let us celebrate as we bring in the crops.
  6. We cried on the way to plant our seeds, but we will celebrate and shout as we bring in the crops.

I can imagine this psalm to be one of the more popular and joyful songs for Israel to sing as they ascended to Jerusalem for the annual feasts. What greater joy for them than to have been restored to their homeland after being exiled in Babylon for 70 years! The events surrounding their release from captivity by King Cyrus were amazing enough to assure them and give witness to other nations that God's hand was in it. It was said among the nation, "The LORD has done great things for them." (126:2) And in Israel they said, "The LORD had done great things for us; we were joyful." (126:3)

Israel's prayer had for years been for their release from captivity. Now their prayer was for the Lord to restore their fortunes, "like watercourses in the Negev." (126:4) This reference to watercourses in the Negev is a great word picture of their hoped recovery. The Negev was the desert region south of Judah which was normally arid and barren of vegetation. But following heavy rains the dry waterbeds become torrential streams that caused this desert area to blossom with vegetation overnight. This word picture could be applied to the trickle of exiles making their way back to Israel and could also be applied to the restoration of their crops and other fortunes.

Then comes verse 5 which is so often quoted and serves as a general principle of truth that can be applied to times of difficulty: "Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy." Verse 6, though not usually quoted along with verse 5, completes the picture: "Though one goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed, he will surely come back with shouts of joy, carrying his sheaves." These verses say to us that if we will in faith take action to move beyond our grief believing that there will again be a harvest of joy that we will not be disappointed. There will come a time of reaping and a time of joy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Reflections on Psalms 125

 Psalms 125(Contemporary English Version)
  1. (A song for worship.) Everyone who trusts the LORD is like Mount Zion that cannot be shaken and will stand forever.
  2. Just as Jerusalem is protected by mountains on every side, the LORD protects his people by holding them in his arms now and forever.
  3. He won't let the wicked rule his people or lead them to do wrong.
  4. Let's ask the LORD to be kind to everyone who is good and completely obeys him.
  5. When the LORD punishes the wicked, he will punish everyone else who lives a crooked life. Pray for peace in Israel!

There is nothing in life that is certain, except for those who "trust in the Lord." They are like Mount Zion that "cannot be shaken; it remains forever." (125:1) In what way are those who trust in the Lord unshakable? They will not be shaken from their righteousness to turn to injustice. We may shake our heads at this thinking it not to be true. We know any number of people who are found in the congregation of believers who have turned to injustice. But the operative statement is, "Those who trust in the Lord." One may join the congregation of believers and have the appearance of being righteous but not truly trust in the Lord. They have placed their trust in something else and turned to injustice in pursuit of it.

Verse 3 tells us that wickedness will not be allowed to rule long enough that those who trust the Lord are shaken and "apply their hands to injustice." It brings to mind 1 Corinthians 10:13, "God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it." The "way of escape" spoken of in Psalms 125 is the removal of "the scepter of the wicked."

Trusting in the Lord, then, is the way of peace. For the wicked will be removed leaving the righteous in peace. Any who are drawn away from righteousness by the influence of the wicked and apply their hands to injustice will be banished along with the evildoers. (verse 5) But those who trust in the Lord will remain and enjoy peace and the Lord will do what is good to them.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Reflections on Psalms 124

 Psalms 124(Contemporary English Version)
  1. (A song by David for worship.) The LORD was on our side! Let everyone in Israel say:
  2. "The LORD was on our side! Otherwise, the enemy attack
  3. would have killed us all, because it was furious.
  4. We would have been swept away in a violent flood
  5. of high and roaring waves."
  6. Let's praise the LORD! He protected us from enemies who were like wild animals,
  7. and we escaped like birds from a hunter's torn net.
  8. The LORD made heaven and earth, and he is the one who sends us help.

The psalmist calls Israel to raise the question, "If the Lord had not been on our side." There are many times in Israel's history this question could have been raised. When the psalmist raised it on this occasion the conclusions they arrived at was that if the Lord had not been on their side they would have been destroyed. Or, as stated in the psalm, "Then the waters would have engulfed us; the torrent would have swept over us; the raging waters would have swept over us." (124:4-5)

Once the people pondered the question of what would have happened to them had the Lord not been on their side they praised Him for not letting them be "ripped apart by (the enemy's) teeth." (124:6) Before coming to this realization what had been their perspective? Clearly the occasion in mind had not been a victory. They had merely escaped total destruction. I can imagine that prior to this they were asking God why He abandoned them and allowed the enemy to overpower them, blaming God for their defeat. But the question they had not considered was, "What would have happened if the Lord really had abandoned us?" Then the realization hit home that if it had not been for God, they would not be alive to blame Him for their defeat.

We who read and ponder this psalm should apply this question to circumstances of our lives. What situation are we still bitter about in which we feel God let us down? Re-frame that situation with this question. "If God truly was not working on my behalf what would have happened?"

Monday, June 2, 2014

Reflections on Psalms 123

 Psalms 123(Contemporary English Version)
  1. (A song for worship.) Our LORD and our God, I turn my eyes to you, on your throne in heaven.
  2. Servants look to their master, but we will look to you, until you have mercy on us.
  3. Please have mercy, LORD! We have been insulted more than we can stand,
  4. and we can't take more abuse from those proud, conceited people.

In the singing of this psalm, the worshiper is drawn to lift his eyes heavenward looking for divine mercy and favor. Verse two depicts the worshiper as a servant with eyes on his/her master's hand looking for signs of his favor. It is an attitude of submission to the Lord's mercy rather than anger with the Lord for their plight.
As exiles in a foreign land, the psalmist and his countrymen had had more than enough of the scorn and contempt directed at them by their captors. They pleaded for God's favor that He might deliver them from this treatment.

Under such circumstances we find we have nowhere else to turn than to the Lord. Previous to their exile, the Israelites had often turned to idols and the gods of the neighboring nations. But they knew this was what sent them into exile and not by their foreign gods, but by the Lord God. It was He and no other god who was their hope.

It is our best thinking that often gets us into circumstances from which we need deliverance. And our only hope is to turn to God for deliverance.