October 15 2023
Today, Sunday October 15
Faith in an Unchanging God
A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before the LORD.
12 But You, O LORD, shall endure forever, And the remembrance of Your name to all generations.
13 You will arise and have mercy on Zion; For the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come.
14 For Your servants take pleasure in her stones, And show favor to her dust.
15 So the nations shall fear the name of the LORD, And all the kings of the earth Your glory.
16 For the LORD shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory.
17 He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, And shall not despise their prayer.
18 This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.
19 For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; From heaven the LORD viewed the earth,
20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner, To release those appointed to death,
21 To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, And His praise in Jerusalem,
22 When the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
I call Psalm 102 “The ‘Me’, ‘My’, ‘I’, Psalm”, or the “The ‘Oh Me’ Psalm”. The anonymous writer was someone who was suffering and felt overwhelmed with personal sorrow. This psalm has a title, which indicates that it was written as a prayer of someone who is “afflicted” and “overwhelmed” and simply wants to pour out his “troubles and complaints” to the LORD. As believers face and deal with the painful crises that come to us, we must keep several things in mind if we are to overcome and glorify God.
First, in verses 1-11, we must learn to accept and respond properly to the changing circumstances of life. Second, in verses 12-22, we need to remember the unchanging covenant of God. You might have noticed as you read these first 11 verses that the psalmist only mentioned the LORD (Jehovah) once and that was in the first verse when he cried out, “Hear my prayer, O LORD.” But when you read verses 12-22, he has changed his outlook as he turned from himself and his problems to behold by faith the LORD enthroned in heaven. In these verses he mentions the LORD (Jehovah) seven different times.
We live in a changing world filled with conflict, confusion, corruption, and violence all around us. As we are overwhelmed with the news of the war in Israel, the conflict and war in Ukraine, and the violence and unrest even in our city streets in America, we can’t help but feel tension, anger, anxiousness, and a sense of insecurity and despondency. The scripture teaches us that in the “last days” it will be like it was in the days of Noah. But in a world that is constantly changes we need to know that we have a God who does not change!
That is what the psalmist does in these verses. He remembers Jehovah, the LORD, which is the personal covenant name of God to His people Israel. Yes, the throne of David was gone and would not be claimed until the Son of David came to earth (Luke 1:30-33), but the throne of God in heaven was secure. Judah and Jerusalem were experiencing shame, but God's "memorial name" of great renown would not change.
In verse 15, one day the nations would respect that name, and praise that name in a new Jerusalem (v. 21). From generation to generation, His people had known and revered that name and Jehovah had not failed them, but they failed the LORD. He had made a wonderful covenant with His people which you can read about in Leviticus 25-26 and Deuteronomy 28-30, and He had not changed it. He promised if His people obeyed His law, He would bless them, but if they disobeyed and turned to idols, He would chasten them. Either way, He would show His love and faithfulness.
In Genesis 12:2-3, the LORD had made an unconditional covenant with Abraham. God told Abraham, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." My friend, God has kept this agreement, this covenant with Abraham and the people of Israel for four-thousand years!
Today, God has made a faithful covenant with His believers through Jesus Christ Who never changes. Read verses 12-22 and look up to Jehovah, the Great I Am, and be encouraged today. Then read Romans 8:35-39 and remember that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus!