We Cry Out
Eternal Lord, You are the light of those who know You and the hope of those who seek You. I bless Your holy name.
Consider: "Thanksgiving and praise will lead us to declare the goodness of God for the many ways he has blessed us by his grace" (T.M. Moore).
Public confession has become an art form today. For example, a politician cheated on his wife, then "did the right thing" by admitting it only after getting caught. Instead of resigning in disgrace, he wrote a book, made a movie, and now regularly appears on celebrity television. No matter, he still looks strong, tanned, and handsome.
The writer of this psalm was no celebrity, but he does give sound advice on how to seek God's forgiveness and help. The key phrase occurs four times with slight variations, "They cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress" (6,13,19, and 28). What's interesting about the four kinds of trouble mentioned is that two were the result of sin and two were not. The prisoners envisioned here had "rebelled against God's commands" (11), while those sick were receiving the result of their "rebellious ways" and "iniquities" (17). We must be careful not to assume that every hardship or setback is God's penalty for sin (see John 9:1-3). That can be incredibly cruel. But the fact is, we're all sinners and we all need forgiveness. The way to receive it is not to hold a press conference. Rather, as the psalmist tells us, it's to cry out humbly to God.
The second form of trouble is not the result of sin; here the psalmist envisions the homeless (4,5) and those in peril on the sea (23-27). What an incredible comfort to know that God is there in our time of trial. This psalm teaches us a very important truth about God: he loves to save people. More than that, he's willing to act on behalf of both sinners and saints who humbly cry out to him. That's "the great love of the Lord" (43).
What's the most memorable way God has worked in your life? In what ways would you say God has redeemed you?
Faithful God, I can only echo the words of the psalmist, "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever" (1).