“O God-Enthroned in heaven, I lift my eyes toward You in worship.
The way I love You
is like the way a servant wants to please his master,
the way a maid waits for the orders of her mistress.
We look to you, our God, with passionate longing
to please You and discover more of Your mercy and grace.
For we’ve had more than our fill of this scoffing and scorn—
this mistreatment by the wealthy elite.
Lord, show us Your mercy!
Lord, show us Your grace!”
Psalm 123:1-4 TPT
How would we describe how we love God? Wanting to please Him? As a servant waits for instructions? With passionate longing? Wanting to discover more of His “mercy and grace“? The very nature of this Psalm exposes the dichotomy between those that love God and those that don’t. Between those that have an intimate relationship with Him and those who would deny His very presence. But we who are His children love Him. How do we love Him? As it says in Deuteronomy 5:6, “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” A completeness surpassing all other loves. A commitment surpassing all other commitments. A relationship surpassing all other relationships. We love God. There is no alternative.
Amazingly, God loved us before we even knew Him. Romans 5:8 says, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” He showed us a love that transcends anything His creation can devise or implement. Any response from us cannot even register on the Richter scale of what love means. But we try. We respond to God as best we can, but how? We are drawn to Him by the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, but there’s more.
The Apostle John understood more than anyone about God’s love. He was the disciple that Jesus loved (John 13:23). And it was a love that transformed his life. We read in his first epistle (1 John 4:11-13 from the Passion Translation), “Delightfully loved ones, if he loved us with such tremendous love, then “loving one another” should be our way of life! No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendour. But if we love one another, God makes his permanent home in us, and we make our permanent home in him, and his love is brought to its full expression in us. And he has given us his Spirit within us so that we can have the assurance that he lives in us and that we live in him.” We can’t get away from it, folks – because God first loved us, we can only respond by loving one another. And John said that when we love one another, God makes a permanent home in us. Sadly, the world would say that the only person worth loving is ourselves. No home or even a room for God there.
In our Psalm, the writer briefly shifts his adoring gaze away from God onto those around him, the God-deniers, who scoff and scorn. On our pilgrimage through life we will find plenty of them. And not just the “wealthy and elite“. And the Psalmist was so desirous to respond to God in the correct way, that he cries out for grace and mercy. And we echo his call – O Lord, please show us more of Your grace and mercy so that we can love others. Amen.