Then there are times when we just have to call on God in our deep distress, grief or anger. Psalms of lament like this one show us that it’s ok to cry out to God in our pain, be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. In this song the psalmist (King David again) turns to his God in a personal case of injustice, where he has been wrongfully accused. He starts with a the general charge against the bad people around him in the first 5 verses. However, he also seems to feel a bit let down by God, whom he perceives to “stand silent and aloof” (NLT). Maybe he’s wondering if God really cares about him, as He doesn’t seem to be intervening while others are telling lies and are attacking him most unjustly. Do we feel disappointed with God sometimes (or maybe right now), because he doesn’t seem to respond to our pain, hurt and suffering? Things haven’t changed or improved for weeks, months or even years – where are you, God? We can come honestly and openly before God and pour out our hearts to Him, wrestling before him with all our feelings, thoughts and grievances ...
According to the NLT Study Bible, verses 6 -19 could be a quote of the accusations David’s accusers have levelled at him (introduced by ‘They say…’ before verse 6). He’s just repeating it back to God - I suppose to make a convincing argument for his case, appealing to the principle of retribution (v.20) and calling on God to help him in his present predicament. With vivid imagery he describes how this episode has affected him, feeling drained and exhausted; miserable and vulnerable; his existence is empty, unwanted, insignificant (vv.23-25). Can you identify with those feelings? Yet King David doesn’t let himself be overwhelmed by them, but knows where to take them and who to go to for help, realising that he is fully dependent on God (vv. 26 -29).
The result: giving thanks and “praising him to everyone” (v. 30). As someone has quipped: ‘After the test comes the testimony.’ We can trust God, “for he stands beside the needy, ready to save them from those who condemn them.” (v. 31)
Feel free to use this psalm as a springboard for your own personal prayers according to what situation you find yourself in, or a loved one, or a situation in the world that you are aware of. There are many people today who are “poor and needy and [their] heart is full of pain.” (v.22, NLT). Let’s lift them up to the Lord.