PSALM 102.

Complaint of One in Great Trouble.

A prayer of the afflicted, one in great misery and distress, when he is overwhelmed, Ps. 61; 2, and poureth out his complaint, as from an inverted vessel, in a full stream, before the Lord. V. 1. Hear my prayer, O Lord, the Jehovah here named being the second person of the Godhead, as He was known and worshiped in the Old Testament also, Heb. 1, 10-12, and let my cry come unto Thee, by removing all obstructions which would hinder its free course. V. 2. Hide not Thy face from me, in aversion or even indifference, in the day when I am in trouble; incline Thine ear unto me, in the attitude of favorable attention; in the day when I call, answer me speedily, a quick relief being required on account of the greatness of the need. V. 3. For my days are consumed like smoke, which passes upward and disappears, and my bones are burned as an hearth, the heat of fever glowing in his members and consuming him as the fuel on the hearth is consumed by the fire. V. 4 My heart is smitten, dried up, the supply of blood being insufficient, and withered like grass, on account of the heat of the inner affliction, so that I forget to eat my bread, the consequence of deep grief. V. 5. By reason of the voice of my groaning, on account of the effort attending his continual moaning and lamenting, my bones cleave to my skin, his extreme emaciation due to his agony. V. 6. I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert, of ruined places, both of these being unclean birds according to the Levitical law. V. 7. I watch, passing the night in sleeplessness, and am as a sparrow, a small and despised bird, alone upon the housetop, the figures expressing extreme loneliness. V. 8. Mine enemies reproach me all the day, mocking him as one forsaken of God; and they that are mad against me, being filled with rage and fury, are sworn against me, making his name a byword, accompanying their most malignant curses against anyone with a reference to the sufferer’s condition. V. 9. For I have eaten ashes like bread, sitting in them as a sign of great mourning and strewing them upon his head and garments, and mingled my drink with weeping, cp. Ps. 42, 3, v. 10. because of Thine indignation and Thy wrath, Jehovah having given him proof of His anger over his trespasses; for Thou hast lifted me up, withdrawing the solid ground from beneath his feet, and cast me down, the figure being taken from a tempestuous wind which overthrows a person. V. 11. My days are like a shadow that declineth, lengthening as the sun draws near the western horizon, showing that the night of death is imminent; and I am withered like grass, like an uprooted plant which is bound to become dry. V. 12. But Thou, O Lord, shalt endure forever, whence the psalmist in the midst of his misery, addresses his confident prayer to Him, and Thy remembrance unto all generations, the eternal and unchangeable Ruler of the universe, whose promises stand secure forever. V. 13. Thou shalt arise, as one throwing off apparent indifference and lethargy, and have mercy upon Zion, upon His Church; for the time to favor her, to show her grace and kindness, yea, the set time, that is, that point of time to which the promise of Jehovah looked forward, is come. When affliction reaches its climax, then the help of the Lord is always nearest. V. 14. For Thy servants, the believers of all times, take pleasure in her stones, all of them being filled with fervent love for the Church, and favor the dust thereof, their loving desire clinging to the very ruins of the Church. This verse shows that the psalm was composed during the Babylonian exile, when the sympathetic attachment of the captive Jews turned with eagerness to the ruins of Jerusalem, the sanctuary of Jehovah. At the same time the situation is typical of many periods of affliction and ruin in the spiritual congregation of Christ, when the believers lament the troubled situation in the Church. V. 15. So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, men from all countries of the world learning to know Jehovah as He has revealed Himself, and worshiping Him in holy awe and reverence, and all the kings of the earth, even the rulers of Gentile nations, Thy glory. It is a picture of Messianic conditions which the prophet here draws. V. 16. When the Lord shall build up Zion, establishing His Church, He shall appear in His glory, in the glory of the Gospel as proclaimed throughout the world. V. 17. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, of the homeless exiles, and not despise their prayer, not reject their supplication for mercy. V. 18. This shall be written for the generation to come, making known the Gospel of Jehovah’s salvation in future ages; and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord, in the worship of true faith. V. 19. For He hath looked down, in an act of wonderful condescension, from the height of His Sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth, observing closely the difficulties of His people, v. 20. to hear the groaning of the prisoner, the exiles of Judah serving to typify the spiritually afflicted in the Church at all times; to loose those that are appointed to death, by reason of bonds and captivity; v. 21. to declare the name of the Lord in Zion, in proclaiming the Gospel of His mercy, and His praise in Jerusalem, in the midst of His holy congregation, v. 22. when the people are gathered together and the kingdoms to serve the Lord, in that wonderful organization now known as the Christian Church. The psalmist now pictures the situation of the individual believer once more. V. 23. He weakened my strength in the way, Jehovah reduced his vitality by having him removed into exile; He shortened my days, and with him the entire people of the exile seemed doomed to death. V. 24. I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days, death before the fulfillment of the average allotted life being considered a particularly severe punishment of the Lord; Thy years are throughout all generations, Jehovah’s eternity standing out over against the weakness and vanity of man’s life. V. 25. Of old hast Thou laid the foundation of the earth, His creative power therefore being able to work deliverance also in this extremity; and the heavens are the work of Thy hands, a product of His act of creation. V. 26. They shall perish, namely, in connection with the great change which would take place on the Last Day, but Thou shalt endure, being established and changeless in the midst of the overthrow of the universe; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment, Is. 51, 6; 2 Pet. 3, 10; as a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed. Rev. 21. 1. V. 27. But Thou art the same, the eternal and changeless “I am,” and Thy years shall have no end. Because Jehovah is the eternal Lord, therefore the psalmist concludes with a confident statement, v. 28. The children of Thy servants shall continue, the Christian Church continuing from one generation to the next, and their seed shall be established before Thee, as the community of believers reserved to eternal life. With this thought to sustain them, the Christians may cheerfully lift up their hearts to Jehovah, the God of their salvation. and trust in His deliverance.