Psalms 102:1-28 When I am Afficted

            `                                         When I Am Afflicted
                 Psalm102:1-28    November 1 2009

Some think that David penned this psalm at the time of Absalom’s rebellion; others that Daniel, Nehemiah, or some other prophet, penned it for the use of the church, when it was in captivity in Babylon, because it seems to speak of the ruin of Zion and of a time set for the rebuilding of it, which Daniel understood by books, (Dan.9:2) . Or perhaps the psalmist was himself in great affliction, which he complains of in the beginning of the psalm, but (as in Ps .77and elsewhere) he comforts himself under it with the consideration of God’s eternity, and the church’s prosperity and perpetuity, how much soever it was now distressed and threatened. But it is clear, from the application of (Psalms 102: 25, 26), to Christ (Heb.1:10-12 ), that the psalm has reference to the days of the Messiah, and speaks either of his affliction or of the afflictions of his church for his sake. In the psalm we have, A sorrowful complaint which the psalmist makes, either for himself or in the name of the church, of great afflictions, which were very pressing (Psalms 102:1-11).  Seasonable comfort fetched in against these grievances,  From the eternity of God (Psalms 102 :12, 24, 27). From a believing prospect of the deliverance which God would, in due time, work for his afflicted church (Psalms 102:13-22) and the continuance of it in the world (Psalms 102: 28). In singing this psalm, if we have not occasion to make the same complaints, yet we may take occasion to sympathize with those that have, and then the comfortable part of this psalm will be the more comfortable to us in the singing of it.

A prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the Lord.

(Psalms 102:1-11) A sorrowful complaint of great afflictions.
Psalms 102:1  Hear my prayer, O Lord, And let my cry come to You. 2 Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble; Incline Your ear to me; In the day that I call, answer me speedily. 3 For my days are consumed like smoke, And my bones are burned like a hearth. 4 My heart is stricken and withered like grass, So that I forget to eat my bread. 5 Because of the sound of my groaning , My bones cling to my skin. 6 I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. 7 I lie awake, And am like a sparrow alone on the housetop. 8 My enemies reproach me all day long; Those who deride me swear an oath against me. 9  For I have eaten ashes like bread, And mingled my drink with weeping,    10 Because of Your indignation and Your wrath;  For You have lifted me up and cast me away.  11  My days are like a shadow that lengthens, And I wither away like grass.

The whole word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but here, is often elsewhere, the Holy Ghost has put words into our mouths. Here is a prayer put into the hands of the afflicted; let them present it to God. Even good men may be almost overwhelmed with afflictions. It is our duty and interest to pray; and it is comfort to an afflicted spirit to unburden itself, by a humble representation of its griefs. We must say, Blessed be the name of the Lord, who both gives and takes away. The psalmist looked upon himself as a dying man; My days are like a shadow.

(Psalms 102: 12-22)      Encouragement by expecting the performances of God’s promises to his church.
Psalms 102 :12 But You, O Lord, shall endure forever, And the remembrance of Your name to all generations. 13 You will arise and have mercy on Zion; For the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come. 14  For Your servants take pleasure in her stones, And show favor to her dust. 15 So the nations shall fear the name of the Lord,  And all the kings of the earth Your glory. 16  For the Lord shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory. 17  He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, And shall not despise their prayer. 18 This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord. 19  For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; From heaven the Lord viewed the earth, 20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner, To release those appointed to death, 21 To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, And His praise in Jerusalem, 22 When the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve the Lord.

We are dying creatures, but God is an everlasting God, the protector of his church; we may be confident that it will not be neglected. When we consider our own vileness, our darkness and deadness, and the manifold defects in our prayers, we have cause to fear that they will not be received in heaven; but we are here assured of the contrary, for we have an Advocate with the Father, and are under grace, not under the law. Redemption is the subject of praise in the Christian church; and that great work is described by the temporal deliverance and restoration of Israel. Look down upon us, Lord Jesus; and bring us into the glorious liberty of thy children, that we may bless and praise thy name.

    (Psalms 102:23-28) The unchangeableness of God.
Psalms 102: 23 He weakened my strength in the way; He shortened my days. 24 I said, “O my God, Do not take me away in the midst of my days; Your years are throughout all generations. 25 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth,      And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26  They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. 27 But You are the same,  And Your years will have no end. 28 The children of Your servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before You.”

Bodily distempers soon weaken our strength, then what can we expect but that our months should be cut off in the midst; and what should we do but provide accordingly? We must own God’s hand in it; and must reconcile this to his love, for often those that have used their strength well, have it weakened; and those who, as we think, can very ill be spared, have their days shortened. It is very comfortable, in reference to all the changes and dangers of the church, to remember that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. And in reference to the death of our bodies, and the removal of friends, to remember that God is an everlasting God. Do not let us overlook the assurance this psalm contains of a happy end to all the believer’s trials. Though all things are changing, dying, perishing, like a vesture folding up and hastening to decay, yet Jesus lives, and thus all is secure, for he hath said, Because I live ye shall live also.

Summary :

Title Unique in the Psalter (no author named and no liturgical or historical notes), the title identifies only the life situation in which the prayer is to be used, and in accordance with (Psalms 102 :1-11,23-24 it designates the prayer as that of an individual. But (Psalms 102: 12-22,28) clearly indicate national involvement in the calamity. It may be that the distress suffered by the individual, while its description suggests physical illness, is the result of his sharing in a national disaster such as the exile —a suggestion supported by references to the restoration of Zion. Because of the close relationship of the fortunes of king and nation and because of the many themes shared by this and some of the royal psalms, it has been plausibly suggested that the prayer was originally that of a Davidic king, or of a member of the Davidic royal house, while in Babylonian exile. PRAYER. (Psalms 102: 1,17. FAINT. (Psalms 102:61:2; 77:3; 142:3; 143:4; 107:5; Jonah 2:7. LAMENT. The Hebrew for this word is translated “complaint” in (Psalms 64:1; 142:2; Job 7:13; 9:27; 10:1; 21:4).

God Bless My Friend
Robert G O’Haver