Today: [Psalm 102] God Hears the Prayer of the Destitute. In this chapter we see the writer in a very difficult and painful situation. Does this describe any area of your life? We all from time to time go through things and wonder “where is God in all of this?” He is never far from us. He is not a far – off God though it feels that way at times judging by the circumstance. The writer pours out his complaint to God which is a legitimate expression. He follows up with an equal affirmation of faith and expectation that deliverance is at hand.
[Psa 102:1-28 KJV] 1 [[A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD.]] Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee. 2 Hide not thy face from me in the day [when] I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day [when] I call answer me speedily. 3 For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth. 4 My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread. 5 By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin. 6 I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. 7 I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top. 8 Mine enemies reproach me all the day; [and] they that are mad against me are sworn against me.
Psalm 102 is by an unknown author, a man in the throes of great affliction and difficulty. It’s theme is that of being overwhelmed and crying out to God for deliverance in His timing. There are times in our life and seasons we go through that we have had enough. Every man and woman walking with Christ can show great stamina for holding up under difficulty but these limitations exist, both emotionally, spiritually and physically that we get to the end of our capacities and make our complaint to God and petition Him for deliverance.
Every trial that we go through is different. Some trials are fiery trials of a nature that we want deliverance and we want it immediately as though we had thrust our hand into a fire. Other trials are longstanding afflictions that we endure for many years – crying out to God for relief. The case of the writer of Psalms 102 is a case of captivity and suffering and long term affliction. It is also a time that the writer feels as though God has hidden His face from their need.
Have you ever asked the question “where is God in all of this?” There are times that you look for God with all your discernment and cannot register His presence in the midst of our circumstance. You might feel as though your days are evaporating in the intense heat of difficult struggle. Your health may be affected, and your appetite. I remember going through a combination of physical and relationship problems where I lost 72 pounds without consciously aware that I was not eating. This is descriptive of what the writer of this psalm is going through.
9 For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping, 10 Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down. 11 My days [are] like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass. 12 But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations. 13 Thou shalt arise, [and] have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come. 14 For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof. 15 So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. 16 When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. 17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.
In verse 13 we find the writer in the midst of contradiction and bitter experience expressing faith in God. Regardless of what you may be going through always find time and opportunity to verbalize your faith. The writer calls out to God to arise and show mercy upon Zion. We don’t ask for what we deserve in prayer. We don’t ask for what we deserve, we ask for God’s favor and mercy. It we ask for what was coming to us we would all be punished and disenfranchised from God’s blessing. Be careful making the complaint “this isn’t fair” or “I don’t deserve this”. Our righteousness is filthy rages. Only the righteousness of Christ conferred on us by faith causes us to be recipients of God’s mercy – which shall be shown to us in the appointed time.
18 This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD. 19 For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth; 20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; 21 To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; 22 When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD. 23 He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days. 24 I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years [are] throughout all generations. 25 Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens [are] the work of thy hands. 26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: 27 But thou [art] the same, and thy years shall have no end. 28 The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.
In verse 15 the writer declares by faith that though he may be surrounded by enemies there will be a time that they will praise the name of the Lord and favor His righteous cause. The lesson of the chapter is the importance of verbalizing our faith and being honest yes – but also raising the level of our expectation in the midst of difficulty. This may look dark and bleak right now but the light of God will break in your situation. As verse 16 says, God will build up Zion. This is your parched place. This is the place where you are thirsting for God and struggling with circumstance. God will not leave you where you are. He will build you up. He will appear in His glory. Where is the glory? It is on the inside of you. It is Christ in you the hope of Glory as Paul declares in Col. 1:26,27. Whatever your need is there is an inventory of answers and miracles on the inside of you – in the glory.
Verse 17 is a reminder that though your life’s circumstances may not reflect deliverance from God – He is not despising your prayer. He inhabits His throne making room for those who walk in humility and contrition. Being found faithful is not about bluster and spiritual saber rattling. God responds to humility. Contrition and transparency are favored by the Father. No more playing the blame game or making unwise and belligerent demands of God. I have been amazed at comments that have come by e-mail or comments posted on our website. Time and again I’ve seen people post blasphemous arguments against God – even threatening Him with their defection from the faith if He didn’t do what they wanted Him to do. I always questioned “where is this woman’s pastor or this man’s spiritual leadership…” There is a great deficit of leaders today who will teach people the fear of the Lord.
There is nothing wrong with being transparent before God. There is no despising in God’s heart toward those who bring an unvarnished prayer before the throne. Never forget however who you are talking to. God places no value on a casual prayer or a prayer that is disrespectful of who He is. Be honest. Be sincere. Refuse to pray hypocritically. But remember who you stand before and walk in humility and contrition. Realize that if someone needs to think differently about your situation it isn’t God. God doesn’t need to change His mind. We need to change our minds (which is what repentance means). As we align ourselves with God’s heart and God’s word change will always result. Circumstances will yield as you yourself yield to the spirit of God as the clay does to the hand of the potter.
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