Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath. 2 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
3 My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?
4 Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.
5 Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave?
6 I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears. 7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes.
8 Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.
We looked together at the emotion and pathos of this Psalm. It is almost a little too much for us, wouldn’t you say? From nearly cringing, begging for mercy, to the deepest imaginable expression of anguish to a cry for deliverance, and beyond. Tears, groaning, weeping through the night, and then … “Away from me, all you who do evil!”
Which of us has never known such distress, not even once? We can feel undone over the finisto an affair of love in high school! We can want to tear our hair out over marital disputes and misunderstandings and disappointments! Emotional conflict is as real as it seems when it overtakes us, in whatever condition it finds us, if we are unable to mount a defense.
What we are endeavoring to do together is to transfer some, at least some moreof our deepest emoting into care for others in their affliction, and we are learning to care deeplyin our prayers. We have identified those we know who are in real distress, in prison, facing a divorce, overcome by failure or financial insolvency, some sick, some mortally, some grieving the loss of a loved one. We know that we know how to go deeper, but we have spent our lives training ourselves to care less!
There is just TOO MUCH! We cannot care so much about so many so frequently, so continually! We can see and hear David’s torment, and it brings into sharp definition the angst of those we love, those for whom we have decided to CARE.
Had we been on the scene, would we have prayed for King David, or with him in concert with his suffering? Now that’s a good question! I suspect I would have been too busy, too distracted, too unsettled with my own issues, unlessI had decided to care.
What a thought! I might have prayed for a king, the King of Israel, man after God’s own heart, writer of Psalms, unifier, shepherd of the flock of God. Perhaps, just maybe, it would have spared him some of the worst he had to go through, or at least sustained him through it. Think of that!
Or … I might have considered it too great a burden to care THAT MUCH.
Choose with me a D.L.F. today, or remember the one you have chosen, and pray, as if your prayers mattered. We might be praying for kings and priests in our generation!
Lord God, there are those we love who mistake their own foolhardy decisions for Your contempt. Have mercy, Lord!
When You are angry, we know it is but for a moment, and Your great lovingkindness never ends: have mercy on them, Lord! Lead them in the truth!
Where their bones are in agony, bring them comfort, and where their souls are in anguish, speak truth and healing. Your mercies toward them, as toward us, are new every morning.
Turn and deliver ________________, save them, and to the uttermost! They are crying, many of them without tears, and we are crying out on their behalf. Let them join those who praise You in this life.
Make all their enemies to be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; make
them turn back and suddenly be put to shame. Amen.
Sixteen Faces Expressing Human Emotion
Charles Le Brun, Wellcome Images on Wikipedia, by permission, death of the artist