“Hear my cry for help…” Psalm 5:2a (NIV)
Because of the age of these ancient manuscripts, one cannot claim to fully understand their meaning and translation. The Hebrew word, NEHILOTH, can be translated, “to bore through” or “to perforate”, leading the translator to conclude the likelihood of using a flute or wind instrument to ornament this song of ages past, described in the psalm’s title. In this psalm, the writer contrasts the positions of the righteous and the wicked before a holy God: the righteous being made restored through God’s grace, and the wicked who oppose God’s way. There are two distinct parts to the song, both crying out for God’s attention: verses one through seven and verses eight through twelve.
Have you ever asked yourself if your prayers reach God’s throne? Or do your words seem to dissolve into the great void of space, never to be recorded or attended? Have you ever felt pain so great that the only way to express it was through sobs of grief and personal agony?
David’s plea depicts a helpless, pitiful soul approaching the only One Who can make a difference in the dilemma he faces. With rapid-fire repetition, David cries out: “Listen to my word”; “consider my lament”; “Hear my cry for help” are all childlike expressions for attention. It’s the squeaky-wheel mentality, seeking the lubrication of God’s mercy to silence what, at first blush, appears to be David making a nuisance of himself. (v.’s 1-2) Beginning at morning light, the anointed future king persisted before the Throne of Grace. (v.3)
Notice, if you will, that David’s sung prayer expresses both verbal and nonverbal communication: “Listen to my words, Lord; consider my lament.” Charles Spurgeon provides his inspired insight: “There are two sorts of prayers – those expressed in words, and the unuttered longings which abide as silent meditations. Words are not the essence but garments of prayer.” To lament before God is to cry in anguish before Him. “Weeping,” Spurgeon asserts, “has a voice… which reaches the very heart of God.” Indeed, there are times when one cannot articulate the brokenness and hopelessness of a desperate soul. The Lord hears and translates the moans of the brokenhearted. To Him, those who release desperate sobs of unspeakable need are presenting a bitter sonnet which have an influence upon His heart which He cannot resist.
The prayers of the wicked are described as unheard… ignored by God… and justly so, for why should He answer the beckoning of another’s child. Jesus chastised the pharisees when He described them as being of their father, the devil. (John 8:31-47) Imagine a street savvy kid approaching another kid’s dad, demanding to be heard, while ignoring the discipline and direction of the adult. Do you think that dad would listen to the one who had just shown such disrespect? In the same way, David describes the prayers of evildoers not even making it to God’s throne. (v.’s 4-6)
Then there is the prayer of the one whose heart is contrite and who approaches God transparently, not hiding any sin or pretense, only approaching God in total reverence and humility. (v.7) It is a picture of the sinner Jesus described, who entered the temple, fell on his face before God, beat on his chest, and asked for God’s mercy toward himself – a sinner. (Luke 18:9-14)
Are you facing a hardship that is simply too devastating for you to navigate through or come out of in one piece? Do you feel like it is tearing you apart? Come apart to share your heart to God before it tears you apart. The One Who knit your heart will keep you together through the strength of His grace… completely sufficient in all circumstances of your life. You may not have to utter one word… just be real in your lament to Him… like a child crying on her father’s shoulder.
God is there…