August 2018

Lifting Our Eyes

          “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).   

          Was the psalmist lifting his eyes to a sovereign God—a God who is supreme with utmost authority and power? Or was the psalmist lifting his eyes to a God of providence—a God who can provide the most important things? Or was the psalmist lifting his eyes to a God of mercy—a God who is compassionate, even to those who have fallen short? My answer is “Yes.” The psalmist was lifting his eyes to a sovereign, providential, merciful God. I find myself looking to God for He is powerful (sovereign). It is God who provides all that I need to support this body and life (providential). The Lord compassionately welcomes me, even when I am the offender (merciful).

          The sovereign, providential, and merciful God can be identified throughout Scripture. Often, one of these traits is emphasized. For example, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions” (Psalm 51:1). The psalmist David had offended the Law of God; he had offended God: “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight” (Psalm 51:3-4). This is one of many examples of lifting our eyes to a merciful God.  It is healthy to always have God’s mercy in focus.

          When the emphasis is on the sovereignty of God, with little to no focus on God’s mercy, mankind ends up with little to no hope. For example, we know God is the Creator who spoke all there is into existence. He has Divine authority over our eternal souls; therefore, we will surely fear God. But if we do not have the God of mercy, who went to the cross for us, we are in a bind: “What will the Almighty do with me?”  Yet with a focus on the God who so loved the world that He gave Jesus Christ who mercifully serves us, we trust His mercy and love.

          When the emphasis is God’s providence, with little to no focus on God’s mercy, mankind ends by being selfish. For example, since God invited us to ask, seek, and knock, we will do so according to our fallen nature. When God’s ways do not coincide with our desires—God does not give us everything we ask—we are disappointed. Mankind has thought, “O Lord, You can provide. I see it in Scripture, and I see it in other people’s lives. If I were in Your position, I could do a better job of providing than You have for me.” Even though most people do not get to that final assertion, at least not out loud, it is still an extremely wrong position to be sitting in judgment against God.

          The work of God in Jesus Christ and His mercy, foremost His work on the cross, are to be our focus. On the cross Jesus set aside His sovereign power to pay for our sin. Jesus set aside His ability to provide all that was needed for His body and life in order that we may have everlasting life.

          As we lift our eyes to God, it is proper to recognize Him for all His traits. It is also healthy and proper to consistently have God’s mercy being recognized and amplified in all our thoughts of God.

The Lord be with you,  

Pastor Wiseman