Friday, 21 October 2016
Psalm 123 - We are called to a life of humble submission
Psalm 123:1-2 "Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, 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 on us." NKJV
The first two words, Shir HaMa'alot appear at the beginning of most of the Psalms of Ascent. Shir is Hebrew for "song". Ha means "the" and Ma'alot is from the infinitive form La'alot which means to rise up. It is what the bus driver says in Israel when he wants people to board his bus; it is commonly understood to mean "rise up by walking up the steps." It is a form of this word used in the Torah to instruct the priests concerning the lighting of the menorah in the Temple. Remember, the base of the menorah was 3 steps.
This is the perfect word to be used to describe songs that were sung by priests to the worshippers as they ascended the irregular steps that led from the ritual baths (mikvot) up to the Temple (located on top of the Temple Mount).
Let's spend the rest of this devotional focused on the next few words, "Unto You I lift my eyes." The Hebrew word translated as lift is the verb nasa. It is made of 3 Hebrew letters (like most verb roots) nun, shin (sin), aleph. The infinitive is most commonly translated "to carry". A form of this root is used by Jacob when he commands his son, Joseph, to CARRY his bones out of Egypt during the coming exodus.
However, this word is often used in Scripture to describe our eyes. If we carry or bring (it depends on perspective) our eyes to the Lord, we are not just looking, but giving our eyes to Him. Verse 2 emphasizes this as it describes the way we look to the Lord as the way a servant looks to his/her master. We must see ourselves as totally dependent on God.
Meditate on that by answering some questions. How does it show that we are totally dependent upon God? In what ways have we not yet surrendered all to Him? It is His desire to order every area of our lives. What still needs His touch?
Rabbi Michael Weiner,