So here’s the deal on Psalm 102 ….. the afflicted Psalmist is crying out to God!! He’s physically and mentally down…… can’t eat or sleep, groaning, derided by his enemies, lonely, and amidst all this, he feels like God, Himself, must be angry with him.
Evidently Zion (Jerusalem) has been attacked and is in shambles. So the Psalmist cries out to God and THEN he proceeds to tell Him why it would be good for Him to arise and have pity on them. I’m tracking with the Psalmist…. I do that. I cry out to God, and I have been known to then tell Him exactly WHY it would be a good idea for Him to correct my particular situation.
The Psalmist’s justifying list was:
– Zion is dear to them
– It’s a mess
– Nations will fear if You deal with this
– Kings will fear
– future generations will praise You if You set the prisoners free
Yes, Lord, I can also be quite good at telling You what to do and why You should do it — just like this Psalmist! I can so easily see life only from the lens of my pain.
But what’s interesting to me about the Psalmist’s situation is that I know something he didn’t!! On my side of the Cross, I know that You had a plan! And the plan was never Zion. Zion was PART of the plan, but it wasn’t THE plan. Your plan all along was to set the prisoners free…… but not just a temporary freedom in Zion! You were planning to set us free from our sin for all of eternity!
No doubt the Psalmist saw “the current pain” and he was speaking of freedom from that perspective — in his “now”. But You look down from Your holy height and see from the beginning to the end — the Alpha and Omega. You were going to bring a freedom so much more glorious than a temporary fix in Jerusalem! You were planning a forever after rescuer — JESUS! And it’s interesting — the Psalmist said if you’d fix his mess, generations to come would praise You! Well, actually You answered his prayer and we do continue to PRAISE YOU!!! Perhaps the Psalmist didn’t yet know that You’re always doing exceedingly, abundantly MORE (Ephesians 3:20-21) than we even know to ask, think, or imagine!
The Psalmist continues on, arriving at v.23-28 ….. lamenting that all this destruction has come in the prime of his life, if you will!
v.23 He has broken my strength in midcourse. He has shortened my days. v.24 “O my God,” I say, “take me not away in the midst of my days — You whose years endure throughout all generations.”
I read that, along with v.25-28, and it’s as if the thoughts of the Psalmist suddenly seem to turn — away from himself, as he considers that You’re eternal — Your years endure throughout all generations!! (ahhh….. we always do well to land on Your attributes, Lord! Or at least for me, nothing can turn and correct my thoughts any quicker than to redirect them and consider who YOU are!!!) And I think we see this in the Psalmist, as he considers that You are eternal and Your years do not end……
v.25 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. V.26 They will perish, but You will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, v.27 but You are the same, and Your years have no end. v.28 The children of Your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before You.
What powerful verses these are, as the Psalmist lands in such a sweet place of TRUTH, amidst his own pain:
– God, it’s Your earth; You made it
– You didn’t create it to last forever
– But YOU last forever
– YOU are security
– Establish us before YOU
I love the definition of ESTABLISH: Set up by You; Founded by You; You lay the groundwork; You enact; You institute; You bring about; You place; You build; IT’S ALL YOUR DOING!!!
And interestingly enough, the author of Hebrews used these same 3 verses in his chapter 1:10-12, as he proclaimed that You said these words to Jesus as the world was created! How fascinating is that?! …….seeing Your plan being unfolded, knowing You never created our earth to last forever. It’s part of the plan for it to wear out like a garment, it will perish, You will change it like a robe —
This is amazing insight You gave to this lamenting Psalmist as he bemoaned his days being shortened. I tend to think (or hope) that in his journey, he arrived at the conclusion:
Don’t bemoan the loss of something that was never meant to last in the first place. YOU remain. YOU never change. YOUR years have no end. Dwell in the security that is YOU!
Lord, I thank You for Psalm 102. What a fascinating and encouraging picture it is of life as You see it…. as You want me to see it.
5 thoughts on “Reflections on Psalm 102”
This is a beautiful reminder – thank you for these reminders!
“Lord, I thank You for Psalm 102. What a fascinating and encouraging picture it is of life as You see it…. as You want me to see it.“.
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My own Jane Phyllis!! How you bless me with your sweet comments! Always.
One of my favorite ways to read through the Bible is chronologically which I am doing this year. I’m in 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles reading about David so several Psalms he wrote has been interwoven. I love knowing the story behind the Psalms if it’s known, because of course the words have a new meaning (their intended meaning). It’s also interesting to me how many times parts of Psalms are quoted in the New Testament; I think they knew their Scripture better than most of us even though a large percentage of the population probably couldn’t read. Anyways! I enjoyed your study of Psalm 102 and the fact that you mentioned we’re on the other side of the cross and know the plan God had! 💕
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I know….. it IS fascinating how much the OT is quoted in the NT, … which is such a reminder that it’s all ONE STORY, as you see how inter-connected it all is. Sidenote… have you ever done any of Courtney Doctor’s studies? I’m currently doing her study on James “Steadfast”! And I LOVE how she approaches Bible study…. each week you have the same format: Day 1 you look at “What Does the Text Say?”. Day 2 “What Does the Text Mean?”. Day 3 “What Do Other Scriptures Say?”. Day 4 “How Does the Text Transform Me?”. And Day 5 “Reflection”. It’s SUCH a great format…. bringing you to see Scripture from the standpoint of who wrote it, what was their intent in writing, how does Scripture teach Scripture, etc. Check her out, the next time you’re looking to add a new study to your Quarantine time!!! (She’s connected with the Gospel Coalition group and was to be one of the speakers for their ladies conference in June (which we were going to, but it was rescheduled for April 2021.)
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I will have to look into buying this study. I have one day a week off from my reading-through-the-Bible plan and have being doing other devotions but would prefer an actual Bible study. Thanks for sharing!
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