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.” 102:26-28
A Prayer to Eternal King for Help
Psalm 102, a penitential psalm, has an unusual inscription. The title describes a person in distress but does not name him. The psalmist begs for a speedy relief. His own desperate situation has not shaken his confidence that God will act for His people. Though man’s life is short and the universe itself is perishable, God is eternal and in the end God’s servants will “live in Your presence.” This messianic psalm is quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12. The psalm records the prayer of the unnamed person, who is greatly afflicted and pours out his heart to the Lord.
102:24, 25 midst of my days: The psalmist remembers his troubling experiences and contrasts the brevity of his own life with the eternity of God. Of old: God is eternal and His works are from ancient times. The writer of the Book of Hebrews applies these words of creation and eternality to the Son (vv. 25-27; Heb. 1:10-12).
24 I said, “O my God, Do not take me away in the midst of my days; Your years are throughout all generations. 25 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
And: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.” Heb. 1:10-12
Our destiny (102:28). Not only will God remain unchanged throughout endless years, but long after the material universe itself has been discarded, God’s children too will “live in Your presence.” Because we have a personal relationship with God our prospects are endless, however short the time we have to spend on earth.
28 The children of Your servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before You.”
** We humans are needy because our days are numbered. The Scripture is good news because it tells us that this ain’t so anymore. We, Christians, like the psalmists, start our prayers in various, often distressful, situations and end them with the same conclusion. Our prayers are guided by the living God. He feeds us an answer in our mouth.
102 1 A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before the Lord. Hear my prayer, O Lord, And let my cry come to You. 2 Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble; Incline Your ear to me; In the day that I call, answer me speedily. 3 For my days are consumed like smoke, And my bones are burned like a hearth. 4 My heart is stricken and withered like grass, So that I forget to eat my bread. 5 Because of the sound of my groaning My bones cling to my skin. 6 I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. 7 I lie awake, And am like a sparrow alone on the housetop. 8 My enemies reproach me all day long, Those who deride me swear an oath against me. 9 For I have eaten ashes like bread, And mingled my drink with weeping, 10 Because of Your indignation and Your wrath; For You have lifted me up and cast me away. 11 My days are like a shadow that lengthens, And I wither away like grass.
12 But You, O Lord, shall endure forever, And the remembrance of Your name to all generations. 13 You will arise and have mercy on Zion; For the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come. 14 For Your servants take pleasure in her stones, And show favor to her dust. 15 So the nations shall fear the name of the Lord, And all the kings of the earth Your glory. 16 For the Lord shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory. 17 He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, And shall not despise their prayer. 18 This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord. 19 For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; From heaven the Lord viewed the earth, 20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner, To release those appointed to death, 21 To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, And His praise in Jerusalem, 22 When the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve the Lord.
23 He weakened my strength in the way; He shortened my days. 24 I said, “O my God, Do not take me away in the midst of my days; Your years are throughout all generations. 25 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26 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. 27 But You are the same, And Your years will have no end. 28 The children of Your servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before You.”