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Psalm 102:12-22(CEB)

12 But you, Lord, rule forever!
    Your fame lasts from one generation to the next!
13 You will stand up—
        you’ll have compassion on Zion
        because it is time to have mercy on her—
    the time set for that has now come!
14 Your servants cherish Zion’s stones;
    they show mercy even to her dirt.
15 The nations will honor the Lord’s name;
    all the earth’s rulers will honor your glory
16     because the Lord will rebuild Zion;
    he will be seen there in his glory.
17 God will turn to the prayer of the impoverished;
    he won’t despise their prayers.

18 Let this be written down for the next generation
    so that people not yet created will praise the Lord:
19     The Lord looked down from his holy summit,
        surveyed the earth from heaven,
20         to hear the prisoners’ groans,
        to set free those condemned to death,
21         that the Lord’s name may be declared in Zion
        and his praise declared in Jerusalem,
22         when all people are gathered together—
        all kingdoms—to serve the Lord.


What we are seeing at verses 1-11 and 23-24 of this Psalm is a person stricken with an illness that threatens to claim life itself. Click on the text link to see the whole Psalm, I am particularly impacted by the ending where the psalmist describes life cut short but still prays to God for children’s lives to be safe and descendants to live secure in God’s presence.  The words underscore God’s eternality in the face of a changing creation.  God alone is permanent and unchanging which assures that those that are God’s need not fear, as the world or circumstances change, as heaven is our true home.    

102:12-17 In the midst of his despair, this man expresses his confidence in the reign of God (you . . . are enthroned forever), hope in the covenant faithfulness of God (you will . . . have compassion on Zion), and trust in the future victory of God (the nations will fear the name) (102:12-13, 15). Therefore, the psalmist continues to pray.

102:25-27 The author of Hebrews quotes and applies these verses to Jesus Christ (see Heb 1:10-12). Sharing in the divine nature of God the Father, God the Son is likewise everlasting: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb 13:8).

This psalm is considered a lament which is a prayer expressing sorrow, pain, and/or confusion. Lament should be the chief way Christians process grief in God’s presence. Christians having grown up in churches which always look on the bright side may find this process freeing. We can paise God and have negative feelings at the same time.

Going to God in prayer with expressions of sorrow, pain and confusion is a proof of our relationship with God. It demonstrates that we need and trust God to be there when we are in need. God can manage our strongest feelings, pain, and grief.   

by Clarence Beverage

For Pondering & Prayer

What would it mean if we could not cry out to God? That we do not believe God has the ability or desire to share our pain and deliver us from it?

Everyone grieves differently, how can we give people around us space to grieve in their own way?

Sometimes we can let ourselves believe that our lives should not have hardship or tragedy. Do the words of Jesus in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you so that you will have peace in me. In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world,” encourage you to look beyond the moment?

Prayer: Lord God, Help us to experience relationship with you more fully by sharing our deepest concerns and fears so that we may hear your voice, know you better including your promise of life eternal. Amen