Apr 30 (Daily reading: Psalms 102-104) The NKJV introduces Psalm 102 with these words: “A prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before the LORD.” Judy and I spent a year in France with missionaries who went to Africa after language school. One of them found a Bible in the house where she and her husband were staying. A missionary who had lived there before them had experienced much difficulty, and she had poured out her heart by writing in the margins of the Psalms. She identified with the laments of the psalmists.
“Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come to You. 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” (102:1-2). We do not know if David wrote this cry from Psalm 102, but he certainly responded to it in Psalm 103. He began with “Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (103:1-2). In the verses that follow, David presented these benefits by describing God’s nature as forgiving, healing, redeeming, loving, good, merciful, and gracious. He portrayed God’s grace in dramatic fashion: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (103:12).
The psalmist praised God in Psalm 104 for all of His wonderful works of nature, and concluded: “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being … I will be glad in the LORD … Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD! (104:32-35). We can identify with the laments in these psalms but let us not overlook the words of worship and praise!
– Al Gary