“Though the Lord be high, yet has He respect unto the lowly; but the proud He knows afar off.”

Psalm 138:6

Although He’s “high and lifted up” (Is. 6:1), He’s also “meek and lowly” (Mt. 11:28-30) and always knows where we are and what we need.

We know not what David was going through when he composed this precious psalm and set it to music; however, it’s clear that he knew full-well the importance of praising the Lord at all times (v.1).  And, he also knew from whence his help came (v.3; Ps. 121:1-2).

The Hebrew word “ra ‘ah” is used here for “respect” and basically means “to see, discern, take heed of, look upon, have regard for, etc.”  Thus, it’s more than a cursory look or casual interest; it’s the picture of a loving parent paying close attention to his/her child’s needs and running to their aid as needed.

Think of it, Pilgrim:

No one needs to remind us “the Lord is on high.”  When we think of Who He is. . .the God of Glory, Who reigns in majesty. . .the One Who created all that is and knew us when we were being “knitted in secret” in our mother’s womb (Ps. 139:15-16). . .and His thoughts toward us are “precious and more numerous in number than the grains of sand on the seashore” (Ps. 139:17-18). . .all we can do is bow our heads, close our eyes, clasp our hands and whisper, “How awesome is Your Name, O Lord, and how great your condescending Love to such a sinner as me.”

It’s also important for us to know to whom He has such “respect:”  “The lowly.”

The basic meaning of this word in the Hebrew (“shaphal”) is “depressed or sunk down, one cast down, abased, brought low, etc.”  Thus, it’s the picture of one who has been “humbled” or “humiliated” in life.  Sometimes this is because of one’s background, upbringing or circumstances; other times it’s the result of one’s sins and bad choices.  But, we should not be surprised to learn that the same root word for “humility” and “humiliation” is the Latin word “humilis”—for so often we learn the former by the latter.

We should also note that “He knows the proud afar off.”

Another way to put it is “He sees them a mile off” or is well-acquainted with their haughty, arrogant, conceited, full-of-self ways.  And, such folks always keep Him at arm’s length and never have any felt-need of Him because of their self-confident and self-sufficient ways.

That’s okay; the Day will come when they realize their “dream world” has actually been a living nightmare (Ps. 73:2-9, 17-20).

But, for those of us who love the Lord, we will continue worshipping and praising Him in all things (Ps. 138:2).  We will declare to all who hear how He has “revived us in the midst of our trouble” (v.7a) and “saved us from the wrath of our enemies” (v.7b).  And, in the midst of it all He will “hear and answer us when we cry out to Him and strengthen us with strength (Heb. ‘oz’—‘force, power, majesty, praise, boldness, to be stout, prevailing strength, etc.’) in our soul” (v.3).  What a Savior and “Sole, Soul-Supplier”!  Hallelujah!!

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated July 27, 2010

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