“I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever!” - Psalm 22:22-26
In this psalm, King David called himself and his readers to put their full confidence in God. If you read through the entirety of the psalm, it is not all praise and adoration. Instead, the psalm begins with David questioning God: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1). David felt abandoned and attacked. He desperately needed the presence, power, and vindication of the Lord. In his weakness, David cried out to the one who was strong. He put his trust in God even when circumstances were challenging and out of his control.
That trust led to praise. Circumstances had not yet changed, but David knew the character and faithfulness of God. David remembered the many ways in which the Lord had worked on his behalf in the past. David remembered God’s faithfulness and chose to put his trust in the Lord once again. Following that trust was praise. In praising the Lord, David found strength and hope. He would tell the nation of Israel of God’s deliverance. David had confidence that he would gather again in corporate worship of the Lord with his people.
What enabled David to express such confidence in the Lord? He knew that God listened to the cries of his people. The Lord did not despise the weakness of David but answered these desperate prayers. The Lord was not one to hide but was ever present and active in the lives of his children. This all powerful and all-knowing God loved to care for his children; he delighted in rescuing them and providing for them: “The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied” (v. 26). David trusted that the Lord saw him, heard him, and would vindicate him.
David’s confidence in the Lord inspired his followers to also place their confidence in the Lord. Though king of Israel, David had no pretenses before the Lord. He lamented his condition and cried to the Lord for help. David allowed himself to be broken so that in the strength of the Lord he could be restored.
Isn’t that the invitation of Lent? To come authentically before the Lord without any pretenses, coverings, or excuses and to declare your need for the Lord. In your flesh, you are weak but in God’s Spirit, you can be made strong. You are called to honestly lament so that you can honestly praise and worship. That praise and worship of the Lord, that remembering of who he is and what he has done, allows you to come into alignment with his love, grace, and power.
The Lord still loves to answer the cries of his children!
Will you follow David’s example in the practice of lamenting, crying out, and worshipping?
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