Plea for Deliverance from Suffering and Hostility
As this title shows clearly this is a psalm when David sang in his suffering. His suffering came from the hostility that he experienced from other people. It was neither financial difficulties nor physical illness. However, the relational hardships are more serious than any other sufferings. So he cried to God.
This psalm basically has four elements: (1) Description of his suffering; (2) Analysis of the root of his suffering; (3) Prayer to God; (4) David’s confidence in God and resolution to praise Him. It is also a song that was sang according to the tune, The Deer of the Dawn, which we do not know.
First, the psalmist says that he has suffering because God is not paying attention to him. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.”
However, he knows that God is going to care for him. His confidence is rooted in two things: God’s nature and God’s past history with his people. “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.”
Then he describes his situation: “But I am a worm, and not human; scorned by others, and despised by the people. All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads; ‘Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver—let him rescue the one in whom he delights!’” He is ridiculed and the God that he trusts is also mocked with him. They can laugh at God because they do not know who God is. Still it is sad. The only thing that I can do in this situation is to reaffirm my trust in God.
“Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast. On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.”
It was not just one person who bullied David. Many bulls attacked him and David even suffered physical symptoms because of their attack. We all know that mental distress causes physical illness also. “Many bulls encircle me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs are all around me; a company of evildoers encircles me. My hands and feet have shriveled; I can count all my bones. They stare and gloat over me; they divide my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
In this situation, David prayed to God: “But you, O Lord, do not be far away! O my help, come quickly to my aid! Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog! Save me from the mouth of the lion! From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.”
This prayer is followed by David’s resolution. “I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.”
“From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him. The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord. May your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him. For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.”
David is still in his suffering. His situation is not changed a bit. His enemies still show hostility against him. However, he already knows that God starts working in the situation. That is why he vows to praise Him and says, “He had done it.” The game is already over and the victory has been won!