Psalm 39:12-13 “Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping. For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were. Look away from me, that I may rejoice again before I depart and am no more.”
As I read this Psalm, and especially these closing verses, two thoughts flooded into my head: firstly, the honesty with which King David expressed his deepest feelings; and secondly, an overwhelming sense of gratitude to God for his amazing grace to me, a helpless sinner.
David’s honesty, and the fact that God has included the king’s psalms in the canon of Scripture as part of his revealed Truth, encourages me to press on, even when I am struggling with the mystery of God’s strange providence. I am reminded that the man who wrote these words is the same man who wrote Psalm 23! There, he expressed his unwavering CONFIDENCE in God, his LORD , who cared for him constantly as a shepherd cares for his sheep: who fulfilled ALL his needs (“I shall not be in want”); who unceasingly refreshed and restored him (“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul”); who could be depended on to remain close by him in the darkest experiences of life (“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”); and with whom he KNEW he would spend ETERNITY (“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD FOR EVER”).
Here (Psalm 39), this same spiritually sensitive man feels alienated and estranged from his God, and, because he is all too aware of God’s [justified] disciplinary measures in his life, starts to feel that he might be better off WITHOUT God, and then to disappear forever into absolute oblivion. Nevertheless, it is significant that even in this uncharacteristically depressed state of mind he is pleading with the LORD to “Hear my prayer” and to “listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping”!
But the second thing that overwhelms my mind is what God has done IN HISTORY to prove his great love to David and to me. Being aware that i am made of exactly the same ‘stuff’ as David – prone to often unexplainable and embarrassing changes of mood and outlook – he has MET my deepest needs by: (a) sending Jesus, his Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, into my world to die in my place, for MY sin, and to conquer death by his resurrection, thus assuring me of a place in his presence for all eternity; and (b) sending his Holy Spirit into my otherwise spiritually ‘dead’ heart to expose its utter sinfulness, and then to point me to Jesus as my SAVIOUR.
What a comfort all this is as I, like David, struggle at times with fears and doubts. It is also comforting to know that the Holy Spirit even blessed David with a faint glimpse of this promised ‘future’ provision so that he could write Psalm 23 as well as Psalm 39!
– Bruce Christian