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Read Psalm 102

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

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

For my days vanish like smoke;
    my bones burn like glowing embers.
My heart is blighted and withered like grass;
    I forget to eat my food.
In my distress I groan aloud
    and am reduced to skin and bones.
I am like a desert owl,
    like an owl among the ruins.
I lie awake; I have become
    like a bird alone on a roof.
All day long my enemies taunt me;
    those who rail against me use my name as a curse.
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.”

Go Deeper

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. 

Questions

  1. What do you find hope in when you are distressed? 
  2. What is your favorite story from the Bible in which God keeps His promises?
  3. 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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2 thoughts on “Psalm 102”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    It seems that Job could have written this Psalm! I’m reminded that affliction pales in light of eternity. Every lament/cry/prayer is never wasted before the Lord. Psalm 116:2 in the NLT says “Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath.” He does pay attention and does not despise our prayers. Today, I’m reminding my heart & circumstances how big God is. I will remember His sovereignty evidenced in 2 Corinthians 4:17 “For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but in the unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

  2. Cast-Off Clothing

    I’ve had a difficult decision in front of me. It’s time to get rid of my very favorite shirt, the one with the perfect level of comfort and color. It’s the ideal shade of blue, just matching my eyes. It goes with practically everything. I’m going to have a hard time letting it go.

    What’s even more frustrating is that, while it’s a common brand, it would seem to be an uncommon shirt. I can’t seem to find a replacement anywhere. And goodness knows I’ve looked.

    It has a lot of tiny holes along the seams, and not long ago I spent a fair bit of time stitching them up. I had it on yesterday, but accidentally got oil on it while cooking. As I prepared to stain-treat and launder it, I noticed even more tears, even harder to repair.

    As much as I hate to admit it, it’s time to let it go. And there’s no resale or donating this one. The only place for it is in the trash. Sigh. My favorite shirt. Tossed out like a worn-out rag.

    Then I came across this verse in The Passion Translation:

    “They will all fade away one day like worn-out clothing, ready to be discarded.”
    -Psalm 102:26

    There’s plenty of powerful stuff in these verses, addressing a wide scope of human pain and God‘s promises. But in light of my recent circumstances, this is what stood out to me. For I read in it a “word in due season” as I prepare to “cast off” and “discard“ another well-worn garment, ie, the primary source of my addiction. For years, it has been SO very comfortable. It goes with just about everything, and feels like it suits me perfectly.

    But it has become a filthy rag that no longer serves me. I can’t clean it up or stitch it up to render it serviceable again. It’s time to let it go. Without any expectation of replacement.

    But trusting God has some things so much better in mind.

    I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness.
    -Isaiah 61:10

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