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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Psalms

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FRAMEWORKS: Psa 102: Anguish & Hope

 

A prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament before the Lord .

 

[Preliminary Comments: This longer than average psalm is exactly what the title says it is, but whether the psalmist speaks as himself or as Jerusalem or as Israel is debatable. He cries to the Lord (v.1,2] in anguish that is physical as well as spiritual [v.3-9], believing he is under God's discipline [v.10,11]. He appeals to the God who has shown Himself for Jerusalem [v.12-14], seen by all the world [v.15-17]. He writes for the benefit of future generations [v.18] reminding them that God had been for Jerusalem [v.19-22] and that even though he himself is under the Lord's discipline he had appealed to the Lord [v.23,24] and remains convinced about the Lord, that He is the unchanging God who created all things and us to be in relationship with Him [v.25-28]. Hope is still there, implied at the end.]

 

 

v.1,2 The psalmist cries to the Lord for Him to listen when he calls

v.1  Hear my prayer, Lord;
     let my cry for help come to you.
v.2  Do not hide your face from me
     when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
     when I call, answer me quickly.

 

v.3-9 The causes of his anguish

v.3  For [i] my days vanish like smoke;
    
[ii] my bones burn like glowing embers.
v.4   [iii] My heart is blighted and withered like grass;
    
[iv] I forget to eat my food.
v.5   [v] In my distress I groan aloud
     and
[vi] am reduced to skin and bones.
v.6  I [vii] am like a desert owl,
     like an owl among the ruins.
v.7   [viii] I lie awake; I have become
     like a bird alone on a roof.
v.8   [ix] All day long my enemies taunt me;
     those who rail against me use my name as a curse.
v.9   [x] For I eat ashes as my food
     and mingle my drink with tears
    

v.10-11 He feels he is under God's discipline

v.10  because of your great wrath,
     for you have taken me up and thrown me aside.
v.11  My days are like the evening shadow;
     I wither away like grass.

   

v.12-14 God's renown in respect of Jerusalem is cherished by His people

v.12  But you, Lord , sit enthroned for ever;
     your renown endures through all generations.
v.13  You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
     for it is time to show favour to her;
     the appointed time has come.
v.14  For her stones are dear to your servants;
     her very dust moves them to pity.
    

v.15-17 The world will see His work in Jerusalem and know and seek Him

v.15  The nations will fear the name of the Lord,
     all the kings of the earth will revere your glory.
v.16  For the Lord will rebuild Zion
     and appear in his glory.
v.17  He will respond to the prayer of the destitute;
     he will not despise their plea.

  

v.18 He writes so future generations will also know

v.18  Let this be written for a future generation,
     that a people not yet created may praise the Lord :
     

v.19-22 God's works of deliverance of Israel are praised in Jerusalem and then the world

v.19  ‘The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high,
     from heaven he viewed the earth,
v.20  to hear the groans of the prisoners
     and release those condemned to death.'
v.21  So the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion
     and his praise in Jerusalem
v.22  when the peoples and the kingdoms
     assemble to worship the Lord.

 

v.23,24 He appeals (as Israel or Jerusalem) for God's discipline to be limited

v.23  In the course of my life he broke my strength;
     he cut short my days.
v.24  So I said:
‘Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days;
     your years go on through all generations.
    

v.25-28 The Creator is unchanging and eternal, establishing a people

v.25  In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
     and the heavens are the work of your hands.
v.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.
v.27  But you remain the same,
     and your years will never end.
v.28  The children of your servants will live in your presence;
     their descendants will be established before you.'

 

 

[Additional Comments: Following up on the title, a useful exercise is to check out each of the (ten) causes of anguish in verses 3 to 9 to catch what the psalmist is feeling and what has been happening to him. Whatever the true cause, he feels it is the Lord who has either brought this on him or allowed it to happen to him [v.10,11,23,24] Despite this, his sense of the Lord's presence and activity is still strong [v.12-17,19,20]. Above all the Lord is sovereign, the Creator of the earth, the faithful and unchanging One, [v.25-27] which brings a confidence that His love will continue to be manifest to the next and following generations [v.28], being conveyed as a testimony to future generations. [v.18] Anguish but confidence!]

   

     

Continue to Psa 103