Psalm 102 is “A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before the Lord.” Commentaries said that this psalm could have been written during the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The psalmist begins by asking the Lord to hear his cries. Then he goes on to pour out his heart to the Lord.
The psalmist is afflicted internally by his health and externally by his enemies. He feels abandoned by the Lord – “Because of Your indignation and Your wrath; for You have lifted me up and cast me away. My days are like a shadow that lengthens, and I wither away like grass” (Psalm 102:10-11).
However, when the psalmist moves his eyes off of himself and onto the Lord, he concludes that although man’s days wither away, the Lord endures forever – “But You, O Lord, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of Your name to all generations” (Psalm 102:12). The psalmist is now hoping in the eternal God whose greatness will be proclaimed throughout all generations.
We see that the psalmist believes that the word of God is true when he says that the Lord would one day restore Jerusalem, just as God said He would through the prophets. Jeremiah prophesied that the Jews would be in captivity for seventy years in Babylon, but then He would restore them to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 25:11). The psalmist recognizes that when this happens, the nations and all of earth will know the Lord’s glory; and it will be written for all generations and even for people yet to come – “This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord. For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven the Lord viewed the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to release those appointed to death, to declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem” (102:18-21).
The Lord is always looking down from heaven and assessing His creations. We saw this during the Creation Era. After the Lord created each thing He would look upon it and declare it was good. However, ten generations after Adam and Eve, the Lord looked upon earth and saw nothing but evil and wickedness in the hearts and minds of all the people except Noah and his seven family members. Therefore, the Lord sent a flood to destroy the wicked, but He saved the righteous, Noah and his seven family members who trusted in Him.
The Lord is the same today. He still looks down on earth, assessing the evil and the righteous, and He will judge accordingly. This is why the psalmist ends his psalm with this prayer – “O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days; your years are throughout all generations. Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will have no end. The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You” (Psalm 102:24-28).
In times of trouble and despair the psalmist calls upon the eternal unchanging God whose purposes will stand throughout all generations. We will see His purposes stand later in the story when Jesus Christ arrives on the scene. Jesus will establish the church, and He will tell His disciples to build the church by making disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:18-20). As disciples continue to go out as tools in God’s hand sharing the Good News of Christ with others, the Lord continues to grow His church, and the remembrance of His name will continue from generation to generation, just as the psalmist stated.
More psalms tomorrow, so keep reading. (Psalms 98-100, Psalms 102, 104)