Summary: One of a series of sermons on Psalms, this one takes a look at Psalms of Lament.
Woe, Despair And Agony On End
Delivered on January 29, 2006
The Rev. Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal. You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from you. May those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me, O Lord, the LORD Almighty; may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me, O God of Israel. For I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face. I am a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother’s sons; for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me. When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn; when I put on sackcloth, people make sport of me. Those who sit at the gate mock me, and I am the song of the drunkards. But I pray to you, O LORD, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters. Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me.
The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people. Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and all that move in them, for God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah. Then people will settle there and possess it; the children of his servants will inherit it, and those who love his name will dwell there.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We are studying the Book of Psalms lately.
Psalms are a wonderful resource to use in your own life.
You can find resources for praising God, thanking God, and confessing to God.
Fortunately, you can also find resources for complaining to God.
We don’t often know how to complain to God very well. In fact, the mere thought of it seems like heresy to many of us. Complain to God? What sort of Christian would do such a thing?
Well, you don’t have to look far.
In West Virginia family and friends gather in a church in a coal mining community. Word comes that by some miracle all miners have been found alive. People rejoice to God.
Then the joy turns to sadness when another messenger arrives to give the news that only one person has been found alive. The rest are dead.
The songs of praise become angry and bitter. “How could God do this to us,” people ask. “We trusted God and he failed us.”
A nation watched the twin towers of World Trade Center hit by jet liners piloted by terrorists. Survivors trapped on higher floors have to decide to die by fire, or by jumping to the ground below. Finally the buildings collapse into dust. “Where was God,” was asked over and over.
A family gathers around a grave of a child. Through their tears they ask, “Why did God desert us?”
Your family is torn apart by strife. You lose your job. Your teacher gives you a failing grade. Your children rebel. Your parents suffer a loss of memory.
And your prayers no longer begin with a happy and joyous, “Praise God!”
It begins with a sigh of sadness, “O God.”
Many times we like to come into this Sanctuary and hear uplifting music and hear a positive message.
But there are times when that is simply not where we are.