By Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)
For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace…. But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations. — Psalm 102.3, 12
Kindly notice the title of this Psalm: A Prayer Of The Afflicted, When He Is Overwhelmed, And Pours Out His Complaint Before The Lord. I call your attention to it in order to remind you what changes there are in the life of a believer.
Here, in the 102nd Psalm, the afflicted saint is pouring out his complaint; and then, in the 103rd, the rejoicing believer is blessing the Lord in a jubilant song of grateful praise. Such are a true Christian’s ups and downs, nights and days; and I can see how the 103rd Psalm blossoms out of the 102nd.
When the afflicted believer can pour out his complaint before the Lord, it will not be long before he will be able to cry, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”
If you carry your complaint in your own bosom, or tell it to some earthly friend, you will probably continue to have cause to complain; but if you pour out your heart before God, it will not be long before he will give you ease and relief.
That was David’s usual way, to comfort himself in his God when he could find no comfort in himself or in his surroundings. You remember that he did so on that memorable occasion when Ziklag was burned, and the people spake of stoning him: “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”
We shall be wise if we follow his example; for, when every other source of joy is dried up, when all earthly wells are stopped up by the Philistines, the stream of God’s mercy flows on as freely as ever.
It is most instructive to notice how the psalmist ascribes all to God—not only his strength, but his weakness—not merely his extended life, but even the shortening of his days. It takes away the sting from our sorrow when we know that it comes from God. It helps us to bear any apparent calamity when we feel that it is our Heavenly Father’s hand that has wrought it all, or his will that has permitted it to happen.
The ever-living God is our constant comfort amidst the ever-changing scenes of this mortal life.
*Abridged and language updated from Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s Commentary on Psalm 102.