This psalm has been seen both as a national (or community) lament and a personal lament. It is appropriate for both because the underlying question is the same in either case – “has God abandoned me?” The psalmist raises the questions not disrespectfully, but in genuine wonder and distress. The problem is not an uncommon one for any of us. How do we deal with the doubt that can come over us when there are times in lives that result in grave trouble or great sorrow?
No matter whether the trials are from illness, loss of a loved one, loneliness, or any kind of suffering at all, how do we come to terms with the pain and suffering we feel and reconcile those feelings with a loving, just, and gracious God? When the trials continue for long periods of time with seemingly no relief, do we not have the same questions of God that this psalmist has? (“Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” “Has His steadfast love ceased forever?” “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?”)
The devil uses those feelings to bring our doubts to their fullest heights in the hope that our faith will ultimately fail. Little by little (or sometimes a lot by a lot) he tries to wear us down and bring doubt to our Christian hearts. There is no reason to suppose that God is offended by the questions. We already have the answers after all. God is love – His love never ceases.
He cannot forget to be gracious because His grace is everlasting. Repeatedly, the Scriptures tell us that “The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression” (Numbers 14:18). Remember Psalm 27:14: “Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage” – and again, verse 14 of this chapter “You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.”
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.