Hello everybody and welcome in to episode 188 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Psalms 5 and 6 today and our focus is on How We Handle God’s Delays in Answering Our Prayers + How We Bring Our Grief to God. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in New South Wales, Australia, parts unknown, Nepal, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Uttar Pradesh, India, Fort Worth, Texas, Birmingham, Alabama, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Los Angeles, California. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
The original title of today’s episode was, “How honest can we be in praying to God?” And, when you read Psalms 5 and 6, the answer is pretty obvious: We can be very, very honest and open and transparent when we pray. It would seem that David holds absolutely nothing back in these Psalms, and that is a theme we will see more and more as we read through the Psalms. So, I guess that issue is settled for now. Let’s talk about a deeper one. Have you ever prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed about something, and God has yet to answer? At our church gathering tonight, we had a time where we prayed for many, many people by name, and I prayed for a friend named Rick to be saved that I have been praying over two decades for – maybe three. That is a long time to pray and not see any obvious answer. How about healing prayers = personal healing prayers and prayers for our friends and family members? My wife and I have five kids – all, or almost all (one we aren’t 100% sure about) have asthma, and when they were kids, they would cough their heads off anytime they got sick. I remember so many times laying on the floor of their bedrooms (as they coughed and tried to sleep) and crying out to God to heal them. Maybe you’ve done that for your kids, or your spouse, or yourself. Has God always answered those prayers quickly? I suspect your answer to that question is no – I know it is my answer. I have seen God miraculously answer prayer and sometimes even miraculously and quickly answer my prayers, but the majority of the time, answers to the deepest and most soul-wrenching prayers seem to tarry long in coming. That is not an unusual experience for the people of God, and it hasn’t been for thousands of years. Thank of Abram and Sarai praying for a baby, or Joseph longing for his estranged family, or Hannah praying for a son, or the children of Israel in Egypt crying out for deliverance from slavery. And, think of David in tonight’s Psalm 6:
Be gracious to me, Lord, for I am weak;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are shaking;
3 my whole being is shaken with terror.
And you, Lord—how long?
4 Turn, Lord! Rescue me;…I am weary from my groaning;
with my tears I dampen my bed
and drench my couch every night.
7 My eyes are swollen from grief;
they grow old because of all my enemies. Psalms 6: 2-4 and 6-7
Those are the deep words of somebody who has cried out to God again and again – “How long, Oh Lord!” The Psalms teach us directly how to pray in our grief – they give us words for our deepest feelings, and help us to communicate them to God. You aren’t the first person who has fallen asleep literally crying and praying for help – thousands of years ago King David did the same thing night after night after night to the point where he could say that his tears drenched his couch and bed. Many of you have been there before, and these Psalms help us express those deep groanings of our souls when we are in agony. Let’s read them and learn how to pray in our grief.
How do these Psalms help us when we are in agony of our souls? Here is Spurgeon on what we can learn about going through our trials and troubles from David’s agony:
His bones were “shaken,” as the Hebrew has it. His terror had become so great that his very bones shook; not only did his flesh quiver, but the bones, the solid pillars of the house of manhood, were made to tremble. “My bones are shaken.” Ah, when the soul has a sense of sin, it is enough to make the bones shake; it is enough to make a man’s hair stand up on end to see the flames of hell beneath him, an angry God above him, and danger and doubt surrounding him. Well might he say, “My bones are shaken.” Lest, however, we should imagine that it was merely bodily sickness—although bodily sickness might be the outward sign—the Psalmist goes on to say, “My soul is also sore vexed.” Soul-trouble is the very soul of trouble. It matters not that the bones shake if the soul be firm, but when the soul itself is also sore vexed this is agony indeed. “But thou, O Lord, how long?” This sentence ends abruptly, for words failed, and grief drowned the little comfort which dawned upon him. The Psalmist had still, however, some hope; but that hope was only in his God. He therefore cries, “O Lord, how long?” The coming of Christ into the soul in his priestly robes of grace is the grand hope of the penitent soul; and, indeed, in some form or other, Christ’s appearance is, and ever has been, the hope of the saints.
Calvin’s favourite exclamation was “Domine usque quo”—“O Lord, how long?” Nor could his sharpest pains, during a life of anguish, force from him any other word. Surely this is the cry of the saints under the altar, “O Lord, how long?” And this should be the cry of the saints waiting for the millennial glories, “Why are his chariots so long in coming; Lord, how long?” Those of us who have passed through conviction of sin knew what it was to count our minutes hours, and our hours years, while mercy delayed its coming. We watched for the dawn of grace, as they that watch for the morning. Earnestly did our anxious spirits ask, “O Lord, how long?”
4. “Return, O Lord; deliver my soul.” As God’s absence was the main cause of his misery, so his return would be enough to deliver him from his trouble. “Oh save me for thy mercies’ sake.” He knows where to look, and what arm to lay hold upon. He does not lay hold on God’s left hand of justice, but on his right hand of mercy. He knew his iniquity too well to think of merit, or appeal to anything but the grace of God.
“For thy mercies’ sake.” What a plea that is! How prevalent it is with God! If we turn to justice, what plea can we urge? but if we turn to mercy we may still cry, notwithstanding the greatness of our guilt, “Save me for thy mercies’ sake.”
Observe how frequently David here pleads the name of Jehovah, which is always intended where the word LORD is given in capitals. Five times in four verses we here meet with it. Is not this a proof that the glorious name is full of consolation to the tempted saint? Eternity, Infinity, Immutability, Self-existence, are all in the name Jehovah, and all are full of comfort.
C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David: Psalms 1-26, vol. 1 (London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers, n.d.), 57.
Bible Memory verses for the month of July: 47 “I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:47-48
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