Wednesday 1 April, 2015

Psalm 102

Hear my prayer, Lord; let my cry for help come to you. 2 Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. 3 For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers. 4 My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food. 5 In my distress I groan aloud and am reduced to skin and bones. 6 I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins. 7 I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof. 8 All day long my enemies taunt me; those who rail against me use my name as a curse. 9 For I eat ashes as my food and mingle my drink with tears 10 because of your great wrath, for you have taken me up and thrown me aside. 11 My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass. 12 But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations. 13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come. 14 For her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves them to pity. 15 The nations will fear the name of the Lord, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory. 16 For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. 17 He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea. 18 Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord: 19 “The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, 20 to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.” 21 So the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem 22 when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the Lord. 23 In the course of my life[b] he broke my strength; he cut short my days. 24 So I said: “Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations. 25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 26 They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. 27 But you remain the same, and your years will never end. 28 The children of your servants will live in your presence; their descendants will be established before you.”

This guy is doing it tough. He can’t eat, he can’t sleep and he feels taunted by his enemies, so he’s calling out to God for help. Then we begin to see a shift in his focus. He starts to remember that God is eternal, powerful and has a plan to rebuild what was ruined. He lifts his eyes to an eternal perspective, though as far as we know, his circumstances haven’t changed yet.

For me, the highlight of this Psalm is verse 16: “For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in His glory. He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; He will not despise their plea”.

Most of us have had some sort of ruin in our lives – in relationship, finance, health, hopes and dreams… But God responds to the prayers of those who call out to Him and He is able to rebuild what was ruined. It may not always be as quick as we would like it or in the way we expect. But He is God and we are not, and so we trust Him to do things in His way and His time.

I love that my hope in this life is not that things will always go perfectly, but my hope is in the God who is eternal, powerful and has a plan to rebuild what is ruined on this earth. He is in the process of setting everything that is wrong to right. Today may not look like it, but His Kingdom is coming…

Written by Shelley Witt

3 replies
  1. Justin Ware says:

    I often find psalms love this a little difficult to relate to, perhaps because modern songs, particularly contemporary Christian songs, are so very different. Nonetheless, I do find such comfort that great authors of the Bible such as this one struggled with their suffering to a very large extent and yet were able to continue to find encouragement in the eternity and hope that is in God.

    Too often when I am feeling like my life is tough, I simply go to a place of “woe is me” despair and I look to worldly solutions or my own strength to try to solve the problem of my own discomfort Without first thinking about the bigger picture of why things are tough and whether there might be a reason for my situation.

    Lord, help me to seek you first in all that I do and to remain focused on the eternity that you share with all those who love you.

  2. Richard Botta says:

    This Psalm is so rich but one verse sticks out to me. 8 Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.

    The stories of victories won in Christ, the testimonies of hope through adversity, of joy breaking through in the morning after a dark night, of perseverance under trial, these are all do encouraging. When a saint, that’s you or I, tell the truth, face the reality, and write it down or tell the story there is incredible power for those who follow us. Like Abraham in Romans 4:19 where we read “without weakening in faith, he faced the fact” of his impotence and Sarah’s barrenness yet he believed God. Or Paul as he speaks about the difficulties he was facing in 2 Cor. 4:7-18 yet with the note of victory. Writing down, telling the story is so important for the generations yet to come for then they understand the faith victories, the battles won, the reality of the situations. Not to glory in our efforts or the difficulties but in the deliverance of the Lord.

    So I ask myself where am I telling my stories, where am I writing them down. For this is surely what I must do. I need to give more voice to what God is doing and has done in my life.

    Father help me to tell the stories you have given me, the testimonies of Your deliverance, for Your glory.

  3. Bethany says:

    What a great reminder that our God is the one who takes the ruins, the broken pieces that once formed part of a whole, and rebuilds. And Richard what a helpful reminder to take the time to tell stories. I can too quickly move from a victory to the next ‘task’ and forget to relish and share the amazing things that God has done. I want to learn the art of story telling.

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