Tuesday, September 12, 2023

2023.09.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 102:1–11

Read Psalm 102:1–11

Questions from the Scripture text: What sort of prayer is this (superscript)? What is he experiencing? How is he responding? What is the first request of the prayer (Psalm 102:1-2)? What does Psalm 102:2c specifically request? Why (Psalm 102:3)? What is an indication of the intensity of his distress (Psalm 102:4)? What effect is his own anguished, mournful groaning having upon him (Psalm 102:5)? To what does he compare this sound and its desolation (Psalm 102:6-7)? Who are enjoying this (Psalm 102:8)? What especially are they enjoying (Psalm 102:9)? But why has this come upon him (Psalm 102:10)? How does he describe being at the point of death (Psalm 102:11)? 

What can believers do when they’re overwhelmed by affliction? Psalm 102:1–11 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eleven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that in all affliction, even chastening from the Lord, believers can cry to the Lord Who cares for them.  

Overwhelmed by affliction. Just the superscript of the Psalm is instructive. Believers find themselves in difficult situations in this world. Our Lord Jesus was a man of sorrows, and He has informed us that in this world we will have trouble. Much of this trouble, we bring upon ourselves with our remaining sin, because the Lord chastens every true son whom He loves and receives (cf. Hebrews 12:5–8). That was the source of affliction in this Psalm (cf. Psalm 102:10). Even for such a situation, the Holy Spirit has given us a prayer and song for when we are overwhelmed by affliction. So, let us not be surprised when overwhelming affliction comes. But let us see the love of the Spirit, and take His good counsel by praying and singing such psalms at those times.

Crying out for attentionPsalm 102:1-2. When we come to the Lord in agony, we don’t need to jump right into requests about the situation. Look at what the Psalmist does. “Hear my prayer” (Psalm 102:1a). “Let my cry come to You” (verse 1b). “Do not hide Your face” (Psalm 102:2a). “Incline Your ear” (verse 2b). “Answer me” (verse 2c). We know that we have the Lord’s attention, but the Spirit gives us a model of repeated pleading for it. How often a believer needs this, when we have come to God in prayer, but we just can’t get a sense of drawing near to Him and being heard by Him. For this common experience in prayer, Psalm 102:1–2 teaches us what to do.

Pointing out our agonyPsalm 102:3-7. The Psalmist tells the Lord that he feels his agony even physically (Psalm 102:3), and that his emotional distress is so great that he’s lost the will to think or feel (Psalm 102:4a) and even forgets to eat (verse 4b). He tells the Lord about groaning so mournfully that even the sound of his own groaning troubles him (Psalm 102:5). He tells the Lord about being like a lone bird, all by itself… small, insignificant, abandoned, entirely out of place (Psalm 102:6-7). All of this implies two wonderful things: not only does the Lord care about our agony, but He also cares to hear us tell Him about our agony. The great identity of God with believers (“I will be Your God, and You will be My people”) already implied to Old Testament saints that God is invested in their pain. How much more for you, dear Christian, when you know that your suffering is shared by the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Romans 8:17)! Let us learn, in prayer, to tell the Lord of our agony. He cares about it, and He cares to hear about it.

Calling out our adversariesPsalm 102:8-11. Another thing the Lord cares very much about is silencing the mouths of those who raise themselves up against His people. He takes such attacks personally (cf. Matthew 25:40; Acts 9:4). Psalm 102:9Psalm 102:11 are similar in tone and content to Psalm 102:3-7. What differentiates them is the dynamic between what the Lord is doing in the psalmist’s life (Psalm 102:10) and how his enemies are responding to it (Psalm 102:8). God’s justice and covenant faithfulness will ultimately answer all taunting and attacking of His people in the last day. But His justice and covenant faithfulness break into time as well. His Word teaches us to plead against those who mock or conspire against us.

When have you been overwhelmed by affliction? What other believers do you know who have been? What can you expect during this life? How are you accustomed to praying when you are in distress? What are some things you can take away from this psalm to improve on that?

Sample prayer:  O Lord, as we come to worship You, we all long for You to attend to hear us, to turn Your face to us, to incline Your ear to us. Especially, O Lord, for those among us who are in distress, make us to know that You are near. Let not our enemies scoff or mock, but show Yourself great and glorious among Your people. Our lives are so short; grant unto us to spend them in Your service and praise. And so give us the ministry of Your Spirit to help us in worship we ask, through Christ, Amen!

Suggested songs: ARP102A “To This My Prayer” or TPH102A “LORD, Hear My Prayer for Aid”

No comments:

Post a Comment