What Are You Looking At?

by Bill Davis

We had a great dog when we were early married, B.C. (before children). This was one of those cool, athletic dogs who could easily catch a frisbee in mid-air leap. She was an absolute nut for fetching a tennis ball. If you’ve ever had such a dog, then you’re familiar with the steely gaze the animal fixes on your hand when you have the ball. The best ones don’t easily fall for the fake-throw… their eyes simply remain riveted to the master’s hand in muscle-tensed anticipation. They’re not easily distracted (unless your dog is like the collar-talking ‘Doug’ from the Pixar movie Up… squirrel!... in which case you might like watching this real-life Doug).

But that fixed gaze on the master’s hand reminds me of the psalmist’s words at the beginning of Psalm 123:  

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.

Note how the servant’s gaze is fixed on the hand of the master, I think both for direction as well as for provision. My thoughts were recently drawn to reflect on that provision piece. I thought of an analogy of when my family goes out to a restaurant. At the end of the meal, when the waiter brings the bill and places it on the table, I’ve never seen any of my younger children grab it and start to reach into his/her wallet. Not once. In fact, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t even cross their minds to do so. They fully assume and expect that one of us parents will take care of it (which, of course, we’re happy and thankful to do). It’s nothing ungrateful (we receive genuine thanks), but rather the point is simply the fact of that expectation and assumption. Their lack of resources is obvious and they’ve experienced enough history to know the source of the provision. When the waiter comes to collect, they don’t start digging into pockets, searching for loose change on the floor, or even looking around the room to other patrons. If there were any question raised about who’s paying the bill, we all know where the gaze would be fixed!

This recently led me to this thought: we will look to the Lord’s hand to whatever extent we believe his hand is the source of what we want and need.

And that’s where I must return to Psalm 123. Do I look to myself for solutions? To secure my own provision? Do I look to others to meet my deepest needs? Or do I truly expect something from the one seated on heaven’s throne? “O you who are enthroned in the heavens!” is quite a resume when compared to anything I, or anyone else, might dare boast.  

How fixed is my gaze on the Master’s hand? It is almost certainly a direct measure of how much I expect and assume it is the source of what I need. Or am I easily faked-out and distracted—squirrel!—by all that surrounds me? Let us “lift up our eyes” to the hand of the Master.