Some of you may be familiar with the song The Old Violin, sung by Johnny Paycheck. The original is a poem by Myra Brooks Welch, and it’s a favorite of mine.
It’s about an old violin, battered and scarred, that looks to be worth about a dollar or two to the eyes of the old auctioneer. Until a man comes forward, picks up the violin, and plays a song “as sweet as the angel sings.” Suddenly the violin is worth thousands, all because of the touch of the master’s hand.
The same is true for us. We’re battered and bruised, and often out of tune. But just a touch of God’s nail-scarred hand makes us worthy and changes us from the inside out.
In Psalm 123 our gaze is shifted from the city of peace, Jerusalem, to Peace Himself. Specifically, to the Master’s hand, from which we receive many things, most significantly, His mercy.
A Song of Ascents. To You I lift up my eyes, O You Who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till He has mercy upon us. Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud. (Psa 123:1-4)
“…as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress,” I’ve always been drawn to this verse. There is a sense of devotion and trust in these words that comforts me. Don’t let the term servant cloud your understanding here. We all look to others for various things, at various times in our lives. Parents, older siblings, teachers, employers, spouses, etc.
We look to God for mercy, we wait, until He provides by . . .
His directing hand – Lord, what do you have for me to do? Eph_2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
His supplying hand – We look to God to supply our daily bread, to supply grace sufficient for the day. 2Cor 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
His assisting hand – We go about our work in the strength God provides. 1Peter 4:11, “as one who serves by the strength that God supplies”
His protecting hand – When we face opposition or persecution, as we most certainly will, we look to God to be our help. Psalm 9:9, “The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
His correcting hand – We may not like this one much, but if you’re a parent yourself, you know how necessary, and how loving, a correcting hand truly is. Heb 12:6, “For the Lord disciplines the one He loves and chastises every son whom He receives.”
His rewarding hand – We all desire to hear Him say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your Master.’’ Matt 25:23
The psalmist cries out for mercy, and so do we.
Do you want to know what the hand of God looks like? Look around, look at your life. Where is He directing you? Supplying a need? Giving you strength for the moment? Protecting you? Correcting you?
Those who are humble receive His mercy in abundance. And will ultimately receive the greatest reward of all – eternity with Him.
Lift up your eyes – and praise Him!