Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.
This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich. I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.
I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
Even in the midst of claiming God has forgotten him, the saint refers to God as his rock. This speaks volumes to me, not in the fact that I am experienced in the depth of this saints trial and the resulting settled conviction. No no no. It is that the saint is possibly accepting the blame of his condition, since God is the never changing, stable, dependable rock of his life. It cannot be God who has changed!
He feels forgotten, and I can definitely relate to this condition. I have felt alone and “abandoned” (I speak as a fool) many periods in my life, and as a testimony, looking back, I realize God was protecting me, guiding me and providing for us as a family. He has not forgotten you, yet at times the feeling of aloneness is unquenchable.
On top of the internal struggle of claiming God’s stability in the midst of an emotional low, the saint speaks of his adversaries again, of their oppressions, taunting and mockery. Our psalmist paints a vivid picture of the pain inflicted on him through the taunting. The mockery is as a knife buried deep into his bones, a wound that is intended to kill.
What is the taunting about? Is it about his stature in life, a condition of poverty, a lack of education, minimal skill levels, mental disabilities? The taunting focuses on one central topic.
“Where is your God?”
The saint has definitely claimed to know the living God and at this point, the enemy, with their presupposed understanding of God, interprets the saints condition as being proof that God has abandoned him. Get this if you can. The saint has claimed allegiance to the true God, and the taunting is based on a wrong understanding of God.
This is reminiscent of the siege of Jerusalem when Sennacherib claimed the ability to overthrow the True God since he had overthrown the false gods of the land surrounding Jerusalem. (Consider 2 Chronicles 32:9-15)
The taunting of the enemy was based on lies they believed about the True God. This is often the source of mockery and taunting believers have to endure, and the New Testament addresses a proper response in 2 Timothy 2:24-25
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth
Note that we are not to argue, but to be kind to others, looking to teach truth. It is interesting that Paul speaks of patience in this very verse. We should not teach in a demeaning demanding way but understand we all have need understand our own fallibility. Out of this understanding, a genuine humility towards others allows us to be of a patient teacher, knowing we are of the same frailty of knowing truth.
Refocusing on God
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
Finally the saint comes to a summary thoughts, still questioning the condition he finds himself in, even though he has recounted his relationship with God through the good times and bad times. (Albeit, this psalm definitely speaks of the bad times more than most psalms!)
He admits to his downfallen condition, and the turnoil within. Denying his condition and putting on a “happy face” was not a solution based in reality for this saint. Admit the struggle, the truth, and ask the hard questions.
In the end, hope in God, for it is inevitable that the saint shall again praise Him. The saint looks forward to the time of rejoicing, even in the middle of sorrow, struggle and pain. This is a great hope, and the Great Hope is our Lord Jesus, for He does carry us through our trials, as we keep our eyes on Him.
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