A psalm crying out for help from one who is worn out. The ONLY source of hope for one so afflicted is the Lord. “Please be listening!”
The suffering of our psalmist appears severe and longstanding. His body has wasted away until he is skin and bones. He feels as if he is in his dying days, if the Lord doesn’t intervene. “My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass” (verse 11).
Our psalmist’s description of his suffering reminds me of Job. He certainly had severe suffering. We don’t really know how long Job’s suffering was but to him it felt like an eternity. It may be the same with our psalmist. My husband had daily pain for 21 years. Praise God, that’s over!!! But each hour in pain felt like an eternity too.
During this psalm, the author speaks of something Job never did. He speaks of God’s anger. “For I eat ashes like bread and mingle tears with my drink, because of Your indignation and anger; for You have taken me up and thrown me down” (verses 9-10). The psalmist says God is angry with him which implies he feels he has done something to provoke that anger. In this way he acknowledges his own sin. Job continued to claim righteousness and to be utterly clueless as to why God was treating him this way. I know I would be taking the psalmist’s point of view if it were me in this situation.
I don’t know if this is national suffering or personal suffering that is being brought before God. It feels personal because of the descriptions used to relate it to us, including the “lonely sparrow on the housetop” (verse 7b) and the use of the sufferers name as a curse. But the action the psalmist is hoping for has national ramifications. It also spans generations.
God is being praised for the FACT that He “WILL arise and have pity on Zion” (verse 13a, emphasis added). It may be that the time being spoken of has not yet come. I’m certain the ultimate time hasn’t come but God did have pity on His people in bondage and brought them out. He brought them back to the city they held dear; Jerusalem. He acted on their behalf when He heard the cry of their hearts. And that cry INCLUDED repentance.
One last thing that gives me reason to believe that God’s ultimate move on behalf of the suffering of His people is where the psalmist speaks of the heavens and earth passing away. He has God ‘changing His clothes’ as easily as He does away with the heavens and earth and brings forth new ones. I believe this will happen after Jesus’ millennial rule; after God judges all the people of the world. In THAT city, “The children of Your servants shall swell secure; their offspring shall be established before You” (verse 28). This is a day to look forward to with anticipation and joy.
We don’t have to wait for that day for God to hear and answer our cries though. The psalmist was certain of God’s long-term victory but was not afraid to ask for his own rescue too. God cares about EACH of us individually as well as corporately. As surely as God can move on the grand scale, He can also move in the life of a single individual. God is not deaf to ANY of His children. He may have a different direction for them to go than they would want but He ALWAYS hears them. And He is ALWAYS faithful, even when we are not. Trust Him with your concerns. He is our ONLY real hope.
Father God, thank You that You do care for me. Not a single hair on my head falls without Your notice and plan to address it. Help me hear Your voice and follow it wherever it leads. Shut out the voices that would discourage me from seeking Your will in my life.