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)