This morning, I was meditating on Psalm 42.
9 I will say to God my rock, “Why hast Thou forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
These two verses in particular struck me. The first thing is the Psalmists righteous determination to cry out to the Lord.
Those of us who were trained with the books of Jay Adams were taught to always be aware of manipulation and complaining. He warned us that the people we are counseling will often seek to manipulate the conversation with tears and a lot of words.
O how glad I am that God does not treat us that way! How many of you have been told by pastors (or even spouses) to stop crying, quit manipulating, and cease complaining. How many of us were told that our tears were simply trying to change the conversation or that our complaining was unthankful and ungodly!
The woman with the issue of blood touched Jesus robes and was made well. He said, “Who touched me” so that she would talk to him. God delights when we pour out our troubles on him and call upon him in distress.
So much of scripture is filled with God’s delight in the prayers of the saints, and his curse on those who did not call upon him, who refused to seek his aid.
Contrary to the American popular religion, God’s blessing is NOT on the one too proud to seek help. It is not on the one who lifts himself up by the bootstraps, but on the one who has no help, no hope, no strength and knows it.
Take heart! God hears our tears, even when surrounded by mockers and revilers!
The second thing I noticed is that the Psalmist compares the reviling of his enemies to a shattering of his bones. How many times have we heard pastors and elders say, “But it really wasn’t abuse, though. There were no broken bones, no one went to the hospital. He didn’t lay a hand on her.”
We have even been taught that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
Cute – but it isn’t biblical. In fact, the uniform testimony of scripture is that words hurt and destroy far more that any physical violence. We actually heal from physical scars, but scars of ugly words last a lifetime.
Jesus warned that hateful, reviling words cause one to be liable to hell-fire.
And the Psalmist pours out his complaint to God for the reviling and mocking of his enemies. And his prayers are heard.
God sees every sneer, every contemptuous smirk, every wink of the eye. He hears every reviling word, every “Raca” and every “You are so stupid. You are such a fool”.
And when the altar of God is covered with the tears of those with whom you dealt treacherously, God hears and will come in judgment (Malachi 2:13).
So keep speaking, you who are oppressed. Keep weeping, those who have been reviled. And remember that God will wipe away every tear and will come in vengeance. And remember God’s promise.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
So as the Psalm ends, we read this, even in the midst of tears:
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance, and my God. (Ps. 42:11)
11 responses to “Shattering words and crying to God”
Resounding note of thanks and approval!
A huge amen, Sam! Love this.
Great post Sam. I’m putting a link to it in the post I published today at ACFJ —
Awesome, Barbara. I’ll be looking for it!
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From the first words of this post, I was blessed, as may others have been as well.
“Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” Proverbs 30:8
There is no shame or sin in wanting to be fed, nurtured and sustained in Him. He is the Bread of Life, after all. Why are we told to not feast on what He has to offer us? What He paid the ultimate price for, if not so we could have full access to what our starving souls need so badly?
I tried to encourage a sister in Christ with Psalm 5015: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor Me.”
I wanted to remind her that it’s right and proper and wait for it—-an act of obedience to Him—-to call on Him when we are in need. It’s not a bother to Him. It blesses Him. Silence in our day of trouble only causes us more suffering than He ever intends.
As time has gone on, I started to see what you pointed out Pastor. He loves to talk with us. Converse with us. He asks questions of us, not because He doesn’t know the answers already—-but because He wants to initiate a dialogue with us—-with US! The Living God actually wants to interact with us. Too often we either take that for granted or we dismiss it outright.
Why are you here? What did you do? What do you want of Me? Do you want to be healed? Why have you done this?
But so often, as you pointed out, we are shunned or shamed into doing just that: don’t bother to cry out to Him. He’s not interested. He doesn’t care. You don’t matter. Get over it. Get over yourself.
I have no sympathy anymore for those who claim to be a seasoned, born again believer in Him—-but are careless and capricious about the power of words. The power of speech. The power of its consequences. The Bible pulls no punches in this area, and yet the wicked counsel you pointed out continues to persist. And at great expense to those who so badly need to hear otherwise.
I’ve gotten the impression that to be a believer, you have to have thick skin. You have to learn how to let things run off of you—-like water off a duck’s back. You can’t burst into tears and run and hide every time you experience a perceived slight, snub or sneer.
Fair enough. Faith in Him has an endurance built into its nature. Learning to stand firm on His foundation—-on Him, in Him and through Him is crucial.
But never underestimate the POWER of slights, snubs and sneers. Every single one matters. Every single one means something. Every single one is seen and recognized by the Lord—-who takes EVERYTHING into account. Nothing gets by Him. Everything is open and laid bare before Him.
“Where is your God?” your enemies ask. Or, the enemy of our souls—-the devil himself.
To answer that: Well, He is everywhere. He fills Heaven and Earth, so that covers every possible space out there.
And, frankly, in that snarky, snobby question, you actually brought up one of the best things about Him: You said “your God.”
Yes indeed. He is mine, and I am His. Thank you for that reminder; I needed it!
You said it to hurt me: if He is yours, then where is He? Why hasn’t He saved you? We’ve shattered your bones, and He remains afar.
BUT, in reality—you’ve infused me with fresh hope. The more you hurt me, the more you are assured to suffer His wrath. The more you mock me, the more you mock Him as well.
The more you mock Him, well—that’s as far as I will go. He will say it best when He confronts you. And yes, I mean “when, not if.”
So thank you. Now I can say: “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,” and I am filled with anticipatory joy.
What a splendid reply, Anu Riley 🙂
I have deleted your comment. Your behavior is the behavior of an abuser. I am on to you. You will not use me or my blog, facebook page, or anything else I own to spew your slander.
I have done nothing to you. Desist this at once.
Your message was also deleted, as will any other messages you send.
What a lovely post to have now read, thanks to the latest comments leading me here.
I’m going to have to read this thing 10 or more times and really let it sink in. It’s so contrary to what is said in so many Christian living type books. So contrary to so many conservatives’ mentality and worldview. The whole bootstrap thing is so often touted it makes a person feel extra ashamed and an extra failure to ever be in need.
The ‘quit complaining’ ‘your trying to manipulate me with your tears’ and other lines are so often used. Is it Jay Adams’ books that espouses this and it spreads from there?
It gets to a point where a person is to afraid to complain, no matter what, having been so thoroughly criticized and shamed for it. But Psalms contains lots of complaints.
Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday!