Daily Family Worship

Psalm 102: The Patriot’s Plaint

by | Jun 10, 2024

psalm 102

This Psalm bears the title, “A prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the Lord.” It a prayer far more in spirit than in words. A strong stream of supplication runs through it from beginning to end; and like an undercurrent, it finds its way heavenward through the moanings of grief and confessions of faith which make up the major part of the Psalm. It is a prayer of the afflicted, or of “a sufferer.” Just as it is recorded of Jabez, that “his mother bore him with sorrow” – so also may we say of this Psalm. However, just as Rachel’s Ben-oni (“child of sorrow”) was also her Benjamin (“son of her right hand”); so also, this Psalm is just as expressive of consolation as of desolation.

From this Psalm, we may learn that even the best of human beings are not always able to stem the torrent of sorrow. Even when Jesus is on board, the boat may fill with water and begin to sink. However, when a cup full of water is overwhelmed or turned bottom-over, all that is in it is naturally poured out; so also, great trouble removes the heart from all reserve, and causes the soul to flow out without restraint. And it is well when that which is in the soul is poured out in the presence of God, but this is only the case where the heart has been renewed by Divine grace.

So this Psalm is the prayer of an afflicted and tempted heart. But what is the Psalmist specifically praying for? He miserably sighs and longs for deliverance, and for the coming of the Kingdom of God. Indeed, the whole sum and substance of this Psalm is, “Thy kingdom come.” And the words of this composition may be used as a general prayer by all the children of God. We know, by sad experience, the infinite weight of sin and the kingdom of death; and so we long for the coming and revelation of Christ, the Kingdom of grace, and the blessings that He promises.

“Have mercy upon Zion,” pleads the Psalmist; “for the time to have mercy upon her is come.” In other words, he is saying, “Your servants long for her to be built up again, and for the stones and cement to be made ready – that is, they long for that grace and that blessing to be revealed unto all nations, and to be preached in all kingdoms; so that those who are captives in chains under the power of the devil and of sin, and who are the sons and daughters of wrath and death, may be delivered!” O Lord, we long for that glorious day when people from all the nations and kingdoms of the earth shall flow together into the true Zion, which is the Church of God! O that they may magnify the name of the Lord, and preach and hear the Gospel; for without Jesus, there is nothing except the kingdom of sin and death – that is, a continual misery and distress in this life, by various temptations of the devil and the world; and also a shortness of life itself, which is changeable and uncertain, and full of sorrow and death. But in the midst all this misery, there is consolation and eternal life in Christ, for He is before every creature; He created the heavens and the earth, and by Him all things consist. Hence He is independent of and above all time; and of His years, there is no end. He dies no more! Death has no dominion over Him! For His Kingdom of life and of salvation, we pray and long. May this Kingdom come! Amen.

O Lord, we repent of instances where we have placed our confidence in earthly things that are changing, fluctuating, dying, and perishing here below; instead of looking to Jesus, Who is and will be the strength of our heart, and our portion forevermore! Amen.

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