Mon Jul 6-Sitting High, Looking Low

Psalm 136:6-8 (CEB)

Even though the Lord is high,
    he can still see the lowly,
    but God keeps his distance from the arrogant.

Whenever I am in deep trouble,
    you make me live again;
    you send your power against my enemies’ wrath;
    you save me with your strong hand.
The Lord will do all this for my sake.

Your faithful love lasts forever, Lord!
    Don’t let go of what your hands
    have made.


There’s a saying that I hear in some churches – most often in Black congregations – that talks about God who “sits high and looks low.” It’s a way of speaking about God’s concern for those who are ignored and mistreated by others. “A God who sits high and looks low” reminds us that God has the power to lift up the lowly, and pays attention to their cries.

But let’s be honest: how many of us reading this particularly identify as the lowly? I mean, maybe for a time but in general? I’m guessing not many.

So, if we’re not the lowly, then who are we?

Think carefully before you answer, because biblically, there’s no greater character flaw than arrogance. “Pride goeth before a fall,” and all that (Proverbs 16:18). I would even argue that the fundamental sin of humanity in the garden was succumbing to the temptation to “become like God” (Genesis 3:5).

I’m not sure that it’s accurate to say “God keeps his distance from the arrogant” as much as it is to say, “The arrogant keep their distance from God.” So long as we rely on self, insisting that our plans, our hopes, and our dreams that are the most important things in our lives, we have no need for God. If we tend to be people who are capable of managing ourselves pretty well – and especially when things seem to be working out for us – then all we tend to offer God is an occasional nod and a tip of the hat. We have no need of a Savior, because we don’t feel like we have anything we need to be saved from!

But in every life, there comes a season of “deep trouble.” Exactly what it is varies. But it’s inescapable. And in those moments, you won’t be able to reason, strategize, buy, or talk your way out of it. You’ll need help. You’ll need friends. You’ll need faith in a strong hand who will take hold of yours and won’t let go. You’ll need a Savior who “sits high and looks low.”

By Joe Monahan

For Pondering & Prayer

Have there been moments where your world has been rocked to the point it felt like it was spinning off its axis? How did you survive those times and keep moving forward? What did you learn?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, keep us from the arrogance that refuses to admit we don’t have all the answers and that our plans don’t always work. Remind us that you sit high and look low. And when you see in arrogance in us, bring us back down to earth and remind us that we are only servants of a love so much greater than us. Amen.

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