Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken your might; come and save us.
Have you ever been struck by the number of Psalms where the Psalmist is lamenting his adverse circumstances and calling upon God for help? Here are just a few examples.
Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy. Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers.(Psalm 64:1,2)
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. (Psalm 69:1-4)
I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. (Psalm 77:1-6)
Have you ever noticed how raw these Psalms, and others like them are? They are born out of times of trouble, trial and turmoil. You can almost hear the plea for help wrung from a heart heavy with anguish. The psalmists are very open about their needs. I don’t know if I would be writing down my pleas and petitions and making them available to all the world to read! However, one thing that becomes clear is that us that they expected God to hear them and they expected God to answer them.
Quoting from Psalm 12:1, “Help, Lord”, Spurgeon says:
Students, in doctrinal difficulties, may often obtain aid by lifting up this cry of "Help, Lord," to the Holy Spirit… Spiritual warriors in inward conflicts may send to the throne for reinforcements, and this will be a model for their request. Workers in heavenly labour may thus obtain grace in time of need. Seeking sinners, in doubts and alarms, may offer up the same weighty supplication. In fact, in all these cases, times, and places, this will serve the turn of needy souls. "Help, Lord,”.
God wants us to cry out to him, to share with Him out trials and tragedies. And there is something else we should notice about these Psalms of lamentation. Most of them either end with, or incorporate a note of thanksgiving and praise.
Let’s take a look at what the Psalmists in the Psalms we looked at above wrote:
All people will fear; they will proclaim the works of God and ponder what he has done. The righteous will rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; all the upright in heart will glory in him! (Psalm 64:9-10)
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs. The poor will see and be glad - you who seek God, may your hearts live!” (Psalm 69:30-32)
Your ways, God, are holy.What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. (Psalm 77:13-14)
God wants you to call out to him in our time of need… whatever that need. But He doesn’t want this to be the end of the story - He wants you to trust Him with your lamentations and turn your eyes outward and upward to Christ because, as Richard Wurmbrand said, “The living Jesus will give you joy amid tribulation.”
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full on His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
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