1 A prayer of an afflicted man. When he is faint and pours out his lament before the LORD
Hear my prayer, O 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 Because of my loud groaning I 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, O LORD, sit enthroned for ever; your renown endures through all generations. 13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favour 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 he broke my strength; he cut short my days. 24 So I said: “Do not take me away, O 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.”
Psalm 102 –‘Down’ but certainly not ‘out’
(Verses 1-2) The author of Psalm 102 is not given. The sad, afflicted writer feels faint. He shares his heart with God, and asks God to hear and answer him quickly in his distress. God does hear and answer.
(Verses 3-11) This man sees nothing but surrounding trouble and problems. His life is passing. His bones ache. His heart seems like withered grass. His appetite has gone. He is just ‘skin and bones’. He feels alone, like a desert owl or one among ruins, or a lone bird on a roof. His enemies taunt and curse him. His tears flow into his drink. He (wrongly) feels rejected by a wrathful God. As he prays to God, he sees that is not so.
(Verses 12-17) His mindset changes. Why? He now focuses on God, His character and attributes. God is the King, eternal, full of compassion, in control of time, to be feared, over the nations, glorious, prayer-answering, kind to the destitute and needy, and listens to their pleas for help.
(Verses 18-22) This needy man now looks ahead. He knows God is in charge. From Heaven God sees the earth, even hears prisoners’ groans and sets free those who are condemned. We all groan as slaves of sin, condemned eternally for our sins. But Jesus died and was punished for our sins to free us from judgment. Alive now, He answers all condemned sinners’ prayers for forgiveness. He will be praised forever.
(Verses 23-28) This man realises how short life is, but how everlasting God is, and that all who know Him will live in His presence after death. These last verses are applied in Hebrews chapter 1 to the Lord Jesus Christ and show that He is none other than God Himself. Put your trust in Him!