Woo-ee!, This is a dangerous little psalm to be included in the Bible! "We have had more than enough of contempt...our soul has had more than its fill." It sounds like such a simple, profound, true statement to embrace--and yet. In my life, when I am praying words with a similar thought, it typically turns out that I am truly the one who is contempt-filled, scornful, at ease. That's the danger of this psalm: the immediate finger-pointing it seems to encourage.
On the other hand, there are certainly those who are truly oppressed, suffering, beaten down. I would invite all of us to take a good, hard look at ourselves, perhaps, as the psalm invites, through the eyes of our mistress and master the LORD our God: where in our lives are we truly those who cry out for mercy? And where are we the ones who scorn as we take our ease?
Oy! God. I hate seeing myself as the one who is scornful, contemptible, proud. Deal me lovingly a truthful hand in this matter, and give me the heart to fix my ways. But give me clear eyes also to see the injustices that I experience, and give me mercy in those as well. Amen.
Psalm 123 (NRSV)
1 A Song of Ascents. To thee I lift up my eyes, O thou who art enthroned in the heavens!
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he have mercy upon us.
3 Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.
4 Too long our soul has been sated with the scorn of those who are at ease, the contempt of the proud.