Sanctified Sight

Psalm 123

Are highly visual people. So accustomed to living all of life based on sight, consider lack of vision a serious disability. Is important means of communication, one God uses too! But like other things, sight is a wonderful gift from God that can be distorted or misused. And… we can be deceived – think we see something when isn’t there, miss details, interpret wrongly, and more.

Often blind eyes can see God clearly, maybe more so than seeing eyes – think Fanny Crosby, e.g., credited with 8000+ hymns. Dr. Walter Kallenbach, evangelist, could identify New Dawn vs. Dr. Van Fleet roses. So should we get super dark Foster Grants and try to rely on other senses? or is there better solution?

First in second set of three psalms, and first to address God directly. This time, problem is set in societal context: arrogant scoffers, those who mock belief in God. We can surely relate to that today, what with people writing things like “The God Delusion”, decisions at all levels of government that ridicule idea of biblical moral standard. Then those who scoff at God himself, behaving outrageously as if daring God to act – shootings / arsons at churches, for example.

This is not to suggest we should act and view life like Pollyanna, always finding good and not acknowledging presence of real evil. We do need Sanctified Sight to live rightly in present age – lifted eyes, dependent eyes, gracious eyes.

A. lifted eyes v.1

important to remember – we are not powerless victims of our minds and bodies; definitely not victims of circumstances – have wills that can be used to govern what mind and body do

is especially true of one whose will has been set free from bondage in sin – can choose to do right in ways impossible before

Psa. 42:5, 11; 43:5 “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.”

talk to self, take self by collar, do what is necessary to please God by both thoughts and actions regardless of circumstances

gotta look above circumstances – Christian and two lions, Pilgrim’s Progress, p.38, 40

if we look only at surroundings, will soon be discouraged and overwhelmed – perspective will become distorted

just one of several times in Bunyan’s allegory when to keep going and on right path Christian had to look up and beyond

looking up has purpose and object – get eyes on right things/priorities and right person

one of first lessons in driver’s ed: look where you want to go; is true regardless of “vehicle” – bicycle, car, feet – the way God has designed us, in part for protection

is how it works for other parts of life – is bi-directional too: what comes in through eyes (and ears) influences thoughts, priorities, worldview; that in turn influences what we pursue

again, not victims: can choose what we look at; means need to be purposeful, directing focus toward God’s truth, pursuing things pleasing and important to God

significant result: when start with right focus, changes how we look at circumstances – see them from God’s perspective

equally important – who is object of focus: the one “who dwells in the heavens”; primary meaning of word rendered “dwell” is “sit”

more in view here than simply God lives in heaven – how does God dwell / sit? not just hanging out in his recliner

God seated on his throne: Jesus “has sat down at the right hand of the throne of GodHeb. 12:2; nearly 40 references to God’s throne in book of Revelation

idea is to purposely turn gaze and attention above circumstances to one who rules our circumstances… and can overrule them

matters not what we can see with eyes, hear with ears, feel with senses – the God “enthroned in heaven” always on duty (Ps. 121)

when recognize all-powerful God is governing, should trust his direction – if we watch him, he will watch our feet

B. dependent eyes v.2

look dependently, expectantly, persistently – provision, protection

in setting of psalm, servant totally dependent on master for all things – had no independent supply of resources: food, shelter, clothing, income; basically destitute apart from master/servant relationship

was master’s responsibility to give direction – what was expected of the servant in each situation throughout daily life

also up to master to provide protection for servants, at least means and leadership – e.g., Abraham and Lot

should be expectant dependence – not trial and error: try this and hope it works; not try as last resort, nothing else worked

remember kind of relationship – master/servant, father/child – are obligations on part of master/father toward his dependents

God is only self-existent being; everything he made is dependent by nature, design and purpose – if God, even God, makes something dependent, he has obligated himself to provide for their needs

is why Jesus could say: Matt. 6:26-30 “Look at the birds of the air”, “…consider the lilies of the field” – “are you not more valuable”, “…why are you anxious”, won’t God take care of you?

not a “do it once and forget it” kind of action – servant doesn’t check in once, then go do their own thing; keep coming back

is especially true when servant is in need; goes to master, expresses need, waits for it to be supplied, gives gentle repeat “reminder” if necessary

is continued, ongoing, active dependence on the only one who can properly and abundantly supply whatever is needed

OT version of importunate widow – “look to the LORD our God, Until…”; “yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”

no hint here of thought about giving up, seeking any alternative – simply going to wait for God to respond to need

God will never give you more than you can handle with strength, etc. he supplies; often gives more than you can handle… by yourself

not simply that God allows stuff, chooses not to change it; absolutely everything that occurs is within eternal sovereign purpose of God

if true, hard stuff that’s part of life is part of God’s intentional purpose for his child – don’t think God is mean, he’s not hands-off kind of leader

2 Cor. 1:8-9 “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” ESV

so… you’re asking, depending, waiting, expecting, and… nothing; what’s up?

down south, excavations for new highway caused flash flood. Volunteers risked their lives to rescue victims. One old man was up to his knees in the fast-rising waters when a rowboat came. “Hop in, we’ll save you!” “No thanks, the Lord will provide.” A short while later, motor boat sent to save him. Swirling waters over his waist, again declined: “No thanks, the Lord will provide.”

water up to his chin, a helicopter was dispatched at the last minute. “Climb aboard, this is your last chance!” “Thanks anyway, but I don’t need you, the Lord will provide.” Before helicopter returned home, old man mad as a hornet, banging on the Pearly Gates. Bitterly complained to St. Peter, “The last thing I remember I was in trouble, praying up a storm, so why did you let me drown?”

St. Peter looked at him, shook his head, and explained: “We sent you two boats and a helicopter. What more do you want?”

have preconceived idea of how God will provide, when his supply doesn’t match, we miss it, think he didn’t answer

2nd possibility – per Paul, still relying on self too much, not relying on God who has all the power

C. gracious eyes v.3-4

need God’s gracious eyes on us

about reached end of rope, need is getting more desperate; circumstances / situation wearing down, need building up

particular problem in view: contempt and ridicule directed by wicked toward those who profess fear of God and desire to please him

not new problem: read Neh. 4:1-5; ridicule, taunting by enemies of God, enough so that could easily say “we have had our fill of humiliation, and then some” (3, NET)

in own strength, cannot successfully resist constant assaults of Satan through his agents… and respond to “neighbor” in right way

say the same thing over and over long enough, people will begin to believe it, particularly if said with great confidence

gotta remember – those who truly fit this category have bogus worldview: is distorted, inconsistent, contrived to support their pet beliefs regardless of the truth

often are highly intelligent people, genuinely convinced they are right – cannot recognize distortions in their thinking/reasoning

common tactic – just like Sanballat and cronies, marginalize Christians; treat as insignificant, misguided, hopelessly confused

risk for Christian – constant diet of contempt and ridicule, eventually begin to think maybe they’re right

then… start to think like them, accept their view on our worth and intelligence, and other things; students especially vulnerable, at all ages, to pressure from peers and instructors

constantly listening to noise from enemies can steal our joy – Rudy and the calf

by causing discouragement – no one, by themselves, can resist continual hounding; will eventually give up just to make it stop

or… by causing anger – react to contempt and criticism based on human wisdom, giving back what was dished out

can quickly degenerate from argument over ideas to personal attack, “your mother wears combat boots”

neither response is pleasing to God – either overwhelmed by circumstances and give up, or, try to solve problem in own strength

solution: God’s gracious eyes on us – diligently seeking his grace and mercy, his favor and help so as to endure in godly way

1 – focus on God, consciously, asking for wisdom and strength… repeatedly, continually, for his help in all parts of life

2 – fill as much of life with “God stuff” as possible: turn off junk (radio, TV, internet, books, people), turn on good (same list)

3 – trust God for help and wisdom to respond to evildoers the right way both internallly (thoughts) and externally (actions)

We need sanctified sight – sight set apart for God’s use and striving to see him at all times. See life, circumstances, reality, accusers, evildoers from God’s perspective. See our own personal needs from God’s perspective, not our own over-blown estimation of our capabilities. With sanctified sight we will see the way clearly that he has planned for us; with continual dependence on his help, we can walk in it.

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