Reading: Psalm 31:9-13
Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.
Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.
I am forgotten as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.
For I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
and plot to take my life (NIV).*
Hog’s Back Falls — photo by David Kitz
How often do you find yourself crying out for mercy as David does at the start of this psalm portion? I confess daily I need God’s mercy. Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.
The desperate cry for help is a recurring theme throughout the psalms. While there is plenty of rejoicing and we find ample helpings of praise for the LORD throughout the Book of Psalms, we also find time after time David and the other writers of the psalms calling out to God for mercy. It is as though David has stumbled into a dry well and has no one to rescue him. Only God can help. Only God will listen.
Is that where you find yourself? In this psalm portion we can see David is experiencing a deep sense of abandonment. He feels he is alone with none to help. He laments, “I am forgotten as though I were dead.”
Is that where you find yourself? But David’s sense of abandonment plums even greater depths. Not only does David feel the sting of rejection, he also feels totally worthless. In his despair he cries, “I have become like broken pottery.” It appears he has lost all sense of meaning and purpose to his life. He is abandoned, useless and worthless.
Is that where you find yourself? Then do as David did. Pour out your complaint to God. Call out to Him. He is listening. He cares and He answers. The LORD has not changed.
Response: LORD God, have mercy on me. Come to my aid. When I stumble and fall into the dry well of despair, please come to my rescue. Help me see Jesus peering down at me. Loving Jesus, extend your hand of help. Amen.
Your Turn: Reflect on how God has helped you in the past. Has he pulled you out of a pit?
* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA
Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.