Weekly Seed of Faith 3/1/2024

Seed of Faith – Joy In The Journey, Eyes On The Lord   By Pastor Dave  

“I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven. As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress,

so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us, for we have endured much contempt. We have endured much ridicule from the proud, much contempt from the arrogant.” Psalm 123:1-4

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

We have been journeying to Jerusalem this Lenten season by reading and reflecting on the Psalms of Ascent —- Psalms 120-134.  If you would like a full copy of the weekly manuscripts, please email me. I’d be glad to email copies to you.

There are some important words that we will look at today.  The first is “eyes” and the second is” mercy.”

The word “eyes” is used four times in verses one and two.  At first, we are told that the Psalmist lifts up his eyes and then he “looks” three times.  The eyes of the slaves look to their masters and the eyes of the maids look to their mistresses. So our eyes will look to the Lord. This is not an endorsement of slavery. Back in the times of the Old Testament, it was common for those who served others to keep their eyes on their masters.  The master may never say a word but simply point or look at something and the servant would already be in action.  That is what the Psalmist is saying about keeping your eyes on the Lord.

What if we are the servant, and Jesus is our master?
Are we keeping our eyes on Jesus so much so that nary a word is ever spoken than we are already moved to action? (pause and ponder that)
Or do we try every which way to Sunday to make sure we get orders from the boss before we spring into action? (Not that I would know anything about that!)

I challenge you to look to Jesus.  So often, plain, and simple, we do not spend our time looking to Him. Instead, we look to the world to find the solution to our problem. We look to others to help us and to make sense of our problems. We look to fill our hearts with other things that promise to make us happy, or bring us comfort.

Stop being afraid and look to Jesus
Stop allowing resentment to ruin your life and look to Jesus!
Stop worrying about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough troubles of it’s own, look to Jesus!
Stop abusing alcohol, drugs and sex; they will never fill the hole in your soul, look to Jesus!
Stop the frenzy for money and material possessions the prize you run after, look to Jesus!
Stop being unforgiving and forgive, set yourself free, look to Jesus!
Stop being insecure in who you are and look to Jesus!
Stop allowing other people to steal your joy and look to Jesus!
Stop flirting with temptation and look to Jesus!
Stop being jealous and look to Jesus!
Stop being angry and look to Jesus!
Stop being impatient and look to Jesus!
Stop being critical and look to Jesus!
Stop running the rat race of life and look to Jesus!

There is a wonderful old hymn called “Turn Your Eyes on Jesus.” This song was written by a woman named Helen Lemmel. I encourage you to YouTube your favorite version and sing along.

The chorus of that hymn gives us these powerful words …

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

What a great hymn.  Are you weary and troubled? Has the light of the world been dimmed in your life and the only thing you see now is darkness?

The answer is to turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Lift your eyes UP to the one who is HEAVEN.

The writer of Hebrews encourages us to fix our eyes on Jesus. These verses in chapter 12 of Hebrews come after the famous “hall of faith”, chapter 11.  “Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, and we are to throw off all the weights of sins that cling so closely and fix our eyes upon Jesus so that we can run the race that is set before us looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Listen, when you choose to follow Jesus, I can almost guarantee you that you will have many nay-sayers who will ridicule and mock you. The psalm today gives us the best advice: Fix your eyes on Jesus, and ask the Lord to have mercy on you as you follow Him.

So What?

What does the writer of the Psalm teach us today?  There is one other key word that is used over and over again and that word is “mercy.” The word “mercy” is used three times in the last two verses. The Hebrew word for “mercy” is “chanan” and it means, “to show kindness, to be gracious, to show favor, to be graciously kind, or mercy.”

I believe that mercy is the most important word in this short Psalm. Why? Because that mercy is what the Psalmist is praying for.

Mercy is an aspect of grace, but the unique aspect of mercy is that it is given to the pitiful, in this case to those who have endured “much ridicule from the proud, much contempt from the arrogant.”

Put yourself in the story.  Put the story in you.

I can remember when I decided to leave the family business and go into the ministry.  Not everyone thought it was a good idea.  I was laughed at, even ridiculed, and ostracized by some. Even my own family ridiculed me. My dad fired me and told me to get out. When I was leaving, he said, “I suppose you think your God will take care of you?”  I told him I knew my God would take care of me.  Some in my hometown told me that I was a fool and that they would not support me. All I knew was that God was calling me into full-time ministry and I had to keep my eyes on Him. A dozen years later, after serving three churches, I was called back to Southern California. I was going to work in a prison ministry. When that door was frozen shut, I went to my denomination. I asked if they would merely lend me support to help some friends start a new church. They said, “No. You are not what we are looking for. You are foolish.  You cannot start a church without money.” Again, here I was, having to keep my eyes on the Lord.

I am sure that if you made it this far in reading this Seed of Faith, you have faced obstacles and even ridicule for stepping out in your faith.

Call upon the mercy of the Lord and keep your eyes on Jesus as you journey to Jerusalem this season.

Every week I tell you to put yourself in the story and then to put the story in you. But from now on—after you do those two things—then go put the story out there…in your corner of the world…dropping breadcrumbs of faith all along your way.

See you Sunday as we hike up that mountain towards Jerusalem TOGETHER!

Keep looking UP, look UP to the maker of the mountains.

“Father, help us to be so intent on keeping our eyes upon You that nary a word must be spoken before we are after doing Your will. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.”

God loves you and so do I,

Pastor Dave


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