As the eyes of servants - We now wait for thy commands, feeling the utmost readiness to obey them when made known to us. The words may be understood as the language of dependence also. As slaves expect their support from their masters and mistresses, so do we ours from thee, O Lord! Or, As servants look to their masters and mistresses, to see how they do their work, that they may do it in the same way; so do we, O Lord, that we may learn of thee, and do thy work in thy own Spirit, and after thy own method. Some think that there is a reference here to the chastisement of slaves by their masters, who, during the time they are receiving it, keep their eyes fixed on the hand that is inflicting punishment upon them, professing deep sorrow, and entreating for mercy. And this sense seems to be countenanced by the following words: -
Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters - Or, are to the hands of their masters; or, regard the hands of their masters. That is, we look to God with the same spirit of deference, dependence, and readiness to mark the will of God, which is evinced by servants in regard to their masters, and by maidens in regard to the will of a mistress. There has been some difference of view in regard to the meaning of this comparison. Some have supposed that the allusion is to the fact that servants, when in danger, look to their masters for protection; others, that they look to them for the supply of their needs; others, that when they have been guilty of an offence they look to them alone for pardon. See Rosenmuller, in loc. The true idea, however, seems to be, that they look to them with deference and respect; that they attentively mark every expression of their will; that they are ready to obey their commands on the slightest intimation of their wishes - standing in a waiting posture, with no will of their own - their own wills absorbed in the will of the master or the mistress.
The following extracts from Oriental travelers may illustrate the idea here: Maundrell (Reise von Aleppo nach Jerusalem, s. 13), speaking of an interview with the Pasha at Tripoli, says, “The servants all stood in great numbers with the utmost respect, and in profoundest silence, and served the guests with the utmost attention and respect.” Pococke remarks that in Egypt the slaves stand in the profoundest silence at the end of the table, their hands laid cross-wise over one another, and that they mark with the deepest attention the slightest movement of their master, who conveys his wishes to them through signs and winks. Savary, in his Letters from Egypt (p. 135), says, “The slaves stand with their hands laid cross-wise over their breasts, silent, at the end of the hall. “Their eyes are directed to the master,” and they are attentive to the slightest indication of his will.” See other illustrations in Rosenmuller, Morgenland, ii. 109,110. It is to such a custom as this that the psalmist refers; and the idea is, that his eyes were directed to God, in his troubles, in profound silence, and with deep attention, resembling that of servants waiting in stillness on their master, and catching the slightest intimation of his will - a movement of the head or hand - or anything which would indicate his pleasure.
Until that he have mercy upon us - We have nothing to do but wait. We have no other resource. We can do nothing if we turn away from him. Our only hope and expectation is there, and if we ever find relief, it must be there. The surest - the only - hope of relief is to wait on God; and it is the purpose of our souls to do this until we find help and deliverance. This is the attitude in which the earnest prayer in the next verse is offered.
You inquire in regard to the course which should be pursued to secure the rights of our people to worship according to the dictates of our own conscience. This has been a burden on my soul for some time, whether it would be a denial of our faith, and an evidence that our trust was not fully in God. But I call to mind many things God has shown me in the past in regard to things of a similar character, as the draft [during the American Civil War] and other things. I can speak in the fear of God, it is right we should use every power we can to avert pressure that is being brought to bear upon our people.... 3SM 384.1
[We are] not to provoke those who have accepted the spurious sabbath, an institution of the Papacy, in the place of God's holy Sabbath. Their not having the Bible arguments in their favor makes them all the more angry and determined to supply the place of arguments that are wanting in the Word of God by the power of their might. The force of persecution follows the steps of the dragon. Therefore great care should be exercised to give no provocation. And again, let us as a people, as far as possible, cleanse the camp of moral defilement and aggravating sins.... 3SM 384.2
All the policy in the world cannot save us from a terrible sifting, and all the efforts made with high authorities will not lift from us the scourging of God, just because sin is cherished. If as a people we do not keep ourselves in the faith and not only advocate with pen and voice the commandments of God, but keep them every one, not violating a single precept knowingly, then weakness and ruin will come upon us.... 3SM 384.3Read in context »
Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us. Psalm 123:2. TMK 252.1
The children of God should cultivate a keen sensitiveness to sin.... It is one of Satan's most successful devices to lead men to the commission of little sins, to blind the mind to the danger of little indulgences, little digressions from the plainly stated requirements of God. Many who would shrink with horror from some great transgression are led to look upon sin in little matters as of trifling consequence. But these little sins eat out the life of godliness in the soul.... TMK 252.2Read in context »
Every individual must seek by earnest prayer to know the Word of God for himself, and then to do it. Only in day by day putting his trust in God, and not in the arm of flesh, will any soul obtain the experience essential to answer the prayer of Christ, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). This is the lesson given to every soul who has commenced the new year. In all your temporal concerns, in all your cares and anxieties, wait upon the Lord. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the sons of man because they may be in positions of trust. The Lord has united your heart with Him. If you love Him, and are accepted in His service, bring all your burdens, both public and private, to the Lord and wait upon Him. You will then have an individual experience, a conviction of His presence and His readiness to hear your prayer for wisdom and for instruction that will give you assurance and confidence in the Lord's willingness to succor you in your perplexities.... TDG 82.3Read in context »
Our trust must be wholly in God. He will be to us a present help in every time of need. Let us wait upon the Lord and exercise faith in His promises. He will hear us. Only believe. The Captain of our salvation will not leave us to guide our own bark. We shall have His help and His wisdom just when He sees we need it.—Letter 24, December 18, 1882, to W. C. White. TDG 361.6Read in context »