A Desperate Plea
“Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel. For I hear the whispering of many – terror on every side! – as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.”
- Psalm 31:9-13
Some people mistakenly believe that they must get their lives cleaned up before they come to God. They offer excuses about what they need to do first – fix their marriage, break free from addiction, or many other excuses. The invitation of the psalms is to see that it is in our brokenness that the Lord welcomes us; it is in the places in which we see our sin, our failure, and our helpless situations that we can also see our great need for the Lord.
Psalm 31 is a psalm of lament written by David. David was a warrior king who led the nation of Israel well. He was also a man who was anointed as king then lived many years on the run, a man who had a very broken past, a man who shed far too much blood, and a man who desperately knew he needed the Lord. David was known as “a man after God’s own heart”
(1 Samuel 13:14). Could there be any greater description for a person? When David wrote, he wrote authentically. He was a man of great expression.
Why do we read this psalm of David on Palm Sunday? Psalm 31 as well as Psalms 22 and 69 convey the suffering of Jesus in his betrayal, the false accusations brought against him, and his painful death on the cross. In fact, Jesus quoted Psalm 31:5 just before he died on the cross: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”
(Luke 23:46). In Psalm 31, we read David’s lament and see into the mind and heart of Jesus’ lament as well.
There is grief, physical anguish, spiritual pain, sorrow, depleted strength of body and spirit, a sense of being a reproach, and feeling useless like a broken vessel. These are painful words to read! David eloquently conveyed his painful condition. In pouring out his heart to the Lord, this psalm invites us to pour our hearts out to the Lord. He is not afraid of our brokenness. He is not surprised by our failures. He is not disappointed in our sin. As we embrace our helpless situation, we are invited to embrace our Savior.
Our Savior also knew pain. In fact, he knew pain that we will never know as he took our sins upon himself. The wrath of God, which we deserve, was poured out on the holy Son of God. There would be no greater anguish than that! Jesus experienced every pain that we could face in this broken world. The Lord understands you. He understands all of your pain, shame, and brokenness. Not only does he understand, but he longs to meet you in those broken places so that he can be the one to comfort you, sustain you, and ultimately heal you.
As we gaze at the cross of Christ today, can we see his pain? Jesus endured the cross because of his love for you and his desire to see you healed and set free. That healing doesn’t happen in your strength; it happens in his strength. Instead of trying to get your act together, why don’t you accept the invitation to fall apart, to be broken, and to desperately need a Savior? That is the invitation of Good Friday – to fully acknowledge the pain, to fully acknowledge our need for salvation, and to receive the offering that Jesus made on our behalf. Reflection:
Are you trying to clean up your life in your power and strength? What would it look like for you to embrace your brokenness and need, then to put your eyes on the Savior?