The Cry of the Afflicted is the title for this Psalm of David sung with the accompaniment of stringed instruments. While it often slips the mind, each of these songs, all 150 of them, were sung by the singers who were assigned and paid to hold a 24 hour song service each and every day at the Tabernacle in David's day and then the Temple after it was built by his son Solomon.
The first of eight penitential Psalms with Psalm 25, 32, 38, 51, 103, 130 and 143 interspersed throughout the book of the Psalms. The pattern of each of these songs is similar: The Cry of the Sinner/Afflicted, The Cause for Affliction, The Cost or Consequences of Sin along with the Cure for the Sinner/Afflicted.
While all four of these divisions are not always present, the pattern can be found in part in all eight of these highly instructive passages of Scripture. Their benefit comes to the believer not only by supplying the remedy for the devil's 'D's, Disaster, Destruction, Discouragement, Distress, Depression, Despondency and Death, but they also provide a good deterrent to those who are not necessarily experiencing the devil's assault.
These''D's do not necessarily come in the order listed above but in the case of Job's afflictions, the order is present as his spiritual/physical roller coaster ride is similar to the above. The degrees and pattern of his afflictions in some cases mirror the unfolding of these penitential Psalms as he eventually repented in 'dust and ashes' (Job 42:6) and experienced the blessing of the LORD.
This pattern is evident here in this passage: "O LORD, rebuke me not in Thine anger, neither chasten me in Thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O LORD" (v.1,2a). The Cry of the Afflicted begins immediately as David recognizes the ultimate source of his affliction and pleads for the mercy of the LORD, knowing that He alone can bring real lasting relief.
The Consequences of Sin/Affliction begins in (v. 2b,3)"For I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: But Thou, O LORD, how long?" The physical misery David is suffering is shown by his weakness and dismay which is also mirrors his spiritual condition. His desperation is revealed by the cry of distress he makes asking to know when this trouble will end.
His urgent appeal continues with The Cure of the Afflicted: "Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: Oh save me for Thy mercies sake. For in death there is no remembrance of Thee: in the grave who shall give Thee thanks?" (v.4,5). This last ditch flurry of requests clearly shows the depths of despair as David makes reference to death and the grave which reveal his own desperate spiritual condition.
The Consequences/Cost of Affliction continues in (v.6,7) "I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxes old because of all mine enemies."
The picture painted here is one of a man fully consumed with his troubles, they are causing him intense turmoil within shown by his state of perplexity both physically and spiritually, not able to sleep, weeping with an abundance of tears, fully engulfed in emotional distress and paying the price with the physical deterioration of his eyes.
He addresses his enemies: "Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping." (v.8) This bold command against his adversaries is the result of David's bolstered faith in the LORD for he expects and will find help in this time of need.
The full and complete confession of his troubled condition shows his expectations as he approaches the throne of grace where he can 'obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need'. (Hebrews 4:16) This promise although recorded in the New Testament was effective for all believers from the beginning of time! It is the answer to all our problems regardless of size or content. He is still on the throne of grace and able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think...Amen?
"The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer. Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly." (v.9,10) David, now, overflows with confidence in his LORD for he knows he is on level ground in his relationship with the LORD having poured out his heart to Him.
His requests focus on putting his enemies in the same condition he just experienced, which might well draw them to his LORD. However, the tone of victory is evident in his final declaration, which is the condition we all should seek to experience as we commune with and abide in our Lord Jesus Christ.
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