Study Guide – Psalm 123

1 I lift up my eyes to you,

    to you who sit enthroned in heaven.
2 As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
    as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
    till he shows us his mercy.

3 Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us,
    for we have endured no end of contempt.
4 We have endured no end
    of ridicule from the arrogant,
    of contempt from the proud. NIV

What does it mean to lift your "eyes" to God? When is the last time you lifted your eyes to God?

Verse 2 could seem a bit out of place in our 21st century society. What is the author's point with this analogy? (Tough side question: Is the author actually condoning 'slavery'… or is there another application?)

How do verses 3-4 add context to the slavery analogy in verse 2?


What does the author say "we" need from God? Why? Who is "we"?

This psalm ends rather abrubtly. Why do you think some of the psalms leave themselves open-ended? Why do some psalms seem to leave the reader hanging with tension… or with an unresolved feeling?

::::: Application Challenge :::::

Following this psalm as an example, try praying right now without wrapping-it-all-up in a neat package. Let your "amen" sit awkwardly. Practice a hanging-prayer in order to trust God with the depths of your heart and then to leave it in His hands.

Related articles

Study Guide – Psalm 130
Study Guide – Psalm 133
Study Guide – Psalm 142
Study Guide – Psalm 150
Study Guide – Psalm 113
Study Guide – Psalm 117
Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

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