Read Psalm 102
A prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament before the Lord.
1 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 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.”
Even in the first verse of this chapter, we can see what kind of psalm we are about to read⏤a prayer and a plea. The author feels hopeless and sick and is asking God for help. His bones burn like red-hot coals, his heart withers like grass, he eats ashes for food, and he feels as if God has picked him up and thrown him out.
This might be you. Maybe you feel overwhelmed by work, in a place of guilt because of your sin, or discouraged by the sin in the world around you. Maybe you are so overcome by the pain of this world that the only thing you can do is get on your knees and pray, and the only place you can run to is into the Father’s arms. If you are like this author right now, feeling like nothing from this world will fulfill or heal you, you’re completely right.
Read that again: Nothing from this world will fulfill or heal you. Thank God He is not from this world. Verses 25-26 say this: “In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 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.” God made the earth, but nothing here will last forever. Instead of finding our value and peace in the things of this world, we can trust in God. We can trust that He is powerful and in control over everything (v. 12). We can trust His promises and find security in the fact that He keeps His promises (v. 13-17). We can praise God for hearing us and freeing us time and again, and we can write it down so future generations can praise Him, too (v. 18-22).
Even if we aren’t hopeless, it is helpful and fulfilling to know that God doesn’t change and will always be there. Reread the last three verses of this chapter. May we find peace and hope in the fact that God is the same forever. Because of who God is, we can live in security and thrive in His presence.
- What do you find hope in when you are distressed?
- What is your favorite story from the Bible in which God keeps His promises?
- Which verse from this passage encouraged you the most? Write that verse on a note card or piece of paper and put it where you will see it every day.
By The Way
Psalm 102:25-27 is quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12 as evidence in the argument that Jesus is superior to anything and everything that was created.
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