1 Lord, hear my prayer. Listen to my cry for help. 2 Don’t turn your face away from me when I’m in trouble. Pay attention to me. When I call out for help, answer me quickly. 3 My days are disappearing like smoke. My body burns like glowing coals. 4 My strength has dried up like grass. I even forget to eat my food. 5 I groan out loud because of my suffering. I’m nothing but skin and bones. 6 I’m like a desert owl. I’m like an owl among destroyed buildings. 7 I can’t sleep. I’ve become like a bird alone on a roof. 8 All day long my enemies laugh at me. Those who make fun of me use my name as a curse. 9 I eat ashes as my food. My tears fall into what I’m drinking. 10 You were very angry with me. So you picked me up and threw me away. 11 The days of my life are like an evening shadow. I dry up like grass. 12 But Lord, you are seated on your throne forever. Your fame will continue for all time to come. 13 You will rise up and show deep concern for Zion. The time has come for you to show favor to it. 14 The stones of your destroyed city are priceless to us. Even its dust brings deep concern to us. 15 The nations will worship the Lord. All of the kings on earth will respect his glorious power. 16 The Lord will build Zion again. He will appear in his glory. 17 He will answer the prayer of those who don’t have anything. He won’t say no to their cry for help. 18 Let this be written down for those born after us. Then people who are not yet born can praise the Lord. 19 Here is what should be written. “The Lord looked down from his temple in heaven. From heaven he viewed the earth. 20 He heard the groans of the prisoners. He set free those who were sentenced to death.” 21 So people will talk about him in Zion. They will praise him in Jerusalem. 22 Nations and kingdoms will gather there to worship the Lord. 23 When I was still young, he took away my strength. He wasn’t going to let me live much longer. 24 So I said, “My God, don’t let me die in the middle of my life. You will live for all time to come. 25 In the beginning you made the earth secure. You placed it on its foundations. Your hands created the heavens. 26 They will pass away. But you will remain. They will all wear out like a piece of clothing. You will make them like clothes that are taken off and thrown away. 27 But you remain the same. Your years will never end. 28 Our children will live with you. Their sons and daughters will be safe in your care.”
This Psalm is a cry from a broken person. Starting with the desperate plea that God would hear they’re cry they describe how much they are suffering. They describe a sickness of some description and also a mental condition that is greatly distressed. Yet even in this despair there is a great confidence, a great affirmation of God! Even to the extent that this should be written for future generations, as a testimony of the Lord.
The direct challenge for me from this Psalm is what happens when I get upset, despairing, sick and infirm. Does my proclamation of the Lord change based on my mood? God has not changed, I have, and I need to align my heart and head to the Lord not allowing myself to be caught up in my mood as if somehow I am the centre of the universe of existence itself. Focusing on God reminds me that He is Lord and my mood is passing.
Father give me strength in every situation to focus on You, even when despairing!
Written by Ps. Richard Botta