Earlier in this study I pointed out that Psalm 123 might be called a psalm for the eyes because the word "eyes” occurs four times. It is the dominant word in the first of the psalm's two stanzas. At this point we can equally well call attention to the word “mercy.” It occurs three times (once in verse 2 and twice in verse 3), not four, as is the case with "eyes.” But it is the dominant word in the second stanza, just as “eyes” was the dominant word earlier. In fact, mercy is the most important word in the psalm, because it is the occasion for the psalm. It is that for which the psalmist is praying. 

The account in Nehemiah 4 tells of the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. The leaders of the surrounding people, however, had begun to oppose it. These hostile leaders were headed by Sanballat and Tobiah. Each of Sanballat's five rhetorical questions and Tobiah’s taunts strike at a legitimate sense of weakness that Nehemiah and the others must have had. 

Do we look to God like that—reverently, obediently, attentively, continuously, expectantly, singly, submissively, imploringly? Probably not. But it is the proper pattern. If we are to be faithful disciples, we must look to God through prayer and careful Bible study. 

Psalm 121 began with the same words as this psalm: “I will lift up my eyes to ...” But while the former poet lifted up his eyes to “the hills," asking as a secondary thought, “Where does my help come from?” this psalm gets to the point directly: “I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven.” 

We are instructed to pray for the peace of our Jerusalem today. And yet, we also look for the heavenly Jerusalem still to come. For we are still pilgrims. We have not yet fully arrived, and our eyes are fixed not even on the church, as wonderful as it can be, but on the heavenly “city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10).