stained glass window from Christ the King Lutheran Church, Redlands, California
Psalm 102 (NRSV)
Prayer to the Eternal King for Help
William MacDonald understands this psalm as a conversation that took place among the three persons of the Trinity when the Lord Jesus was making expiation for the sins of the world. Verses 1-11 — The Lord Jesus, hanging on the cross, is speaking to God.
1Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you.
From Psalm 102, the Taize song, “O Lord, Hear My Prayer,” sung by the Taize Community Choir.
O Lord, hear my prayer,
hear my prayer
When I call answer me
O Lord, hear my prayer,
hear my prayer
Come and listen to me
2Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call.
3For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace.
4My heart is stricken and withered like grass; I am too wasted to eat my bread.
5Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my skin.
6I am like an owl of the wilderness, like a little owl of the waste places.
7I lie awake; I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.
8All day long my enemies taunt me; those who deride me use my name for a curse.
9For I eat ashes like bread, and mingle tears with my drink,
10because of your indignation and anger; for you have lifted me up and thrown me aside.
11My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.
Verses 12-15 — The Father replies to His beloved Son. See Hebrews 1:8 –
But to the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever.
You rule with a scepter of justice.”.
12But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; your name endures to all generations.
13You will rise up and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to favor it; the appointed time has come.
2 Corinthians 6:2 (New International Version)
For God says,
“In the time of my favor I heard you,
and in the day of salvation I helped you.”
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
14For your servants hold its stones dear, and have pity on its dust.
15The nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth your glory.
Verses 16-22 — The speaker is unidentified, but we are safe in assuming that it is the Holy Spirit, describing the future restoration of Israel under the Messiah.
16For the Lord will build up Zion; he will appear in his glory.
17He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and will not despise their prayer.
18Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord:
19that he looked down from his holy height, from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
20to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die;
21so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem,
22when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.
Verses 23- 24 — The Savior is heard once more as He suffers at the hands of God for our sins.
23He has broken my strength in midcourse; he has shortened my days.
24“O my God,” I say, “do not take me away at the mid-point of my life, you whose years endure throughout all generations.”
Psalm 90:1-2 (New International Version)
Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Verses 15-18 — We know that the Father is speaking to His Son as seen in the verses below from Hebrews 1:10-12.
“In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth
and made the heavens with your hands.
They will perish, but you remain forever.
They will wear out like old clothing.
You will fold them up like a cloak
and discard them like old clothing.
But you are always the same;
you will live forever.”
25Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment. You change them like clothing, and they pass away;
27but you are the same, and your years have no end.
28The children of your servants shall live secure; their offspring shall be established in your presence.
The 102nd Psalm is a psalm of prayer. In it the fathers of old – weary of laws, of sins, and of death – wholeheartedly yearn and call for the kingdom of grace promised in Christ. They ask that God yet again build up Zion and set in place her stones and dust, that He would yet again enter in and let His glory be seen in all kingdoms, that He would rescue His captives from sin and death so that they may come together and thank Him – that is, that they may worship Him in the true Zion – and the Old Testament come to an end.
For without Christ there is indeed nothing but strength broken in the middle of life and days cut short, that is, a miserable, short, wretched life from which the psalmist is reluctantly removed. But in His kingdom is eternal life, and His time has no end. He is the One who was before He created heaven and earth, and will again change and renew them. Therefore, He is outside of and over all time. His year has no end and there is no dying there: This kingdom we will gladly receive. May such a kingdom, Your kingdom, come! Amen.
So we have come to the close of another year. What is ahead is unknown, but for us as believers, it is certain and safe in the hands of our loving Lord and Savior. Let us find our rest, our comfort, and our encouragement in Christ as we remember the past and meet the future.
Hebrews 13:8 (NLT)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
HERE is “Abide With Me” sung by the King’s College Choir of Cambridge. It was written by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte in 1847 while he lay dying from tuberculosis; he survived only a further three weeks after its completion.
1. Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
2. Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away; change and decay in all around I see; O thou who changest not, abide with me.
3. I need thy presence every passing hour. What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power? Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be? Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
4. I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless; ills have no weight, and tears not bitterness. Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still, if thou abide with me.
5. Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes; shine through the gloom and point me to the skies. Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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