My daughter’s ripped jeans made a mockery of my assumptions when I read this, “…yes, all of them shall wear out and become old like a garment. Like clothing You shall change them, and they shall be changed….”
Many times I’d said, “God can use anyone He wants to accomplish His tasks!” Silently I’d thought, IF they aren’t worn out, weak, or ruined.
I should have known better, when I read the heading for Psalm 102 and saw this explanation, “The prayer of an afflicted person when he is overwhelmed and faint and pours out his complaint to God.”
Then the Psalm writer (the afflicted person) gave many unique phrases to describe his distress.
My days consume away like smoke.
My bones burn like a firebrand or like a hearth.
My heart is smitten as grass withered, so much so that I forget to eat.
My flesh cleaves to my bones by reason of my loud groaning from suffering and trouble.
I am like a melancholy pelican.
I am like a vulture in the wilderness.
I am like a desolate owl of the waste places.
I am sleepless and lie awake mourning.
I am like a bereaved sparrow alone on the housetop.
My adversaries taunt and reproach me all day.
They who are angry with me use my name as a curse.
I have eaten the ashes in which I sat as if they were bread.
I have mingled my drink with weeping because of Your indignation and Your wrath, for You have taken me up and cast me away.
My days are like an evening shadow that stretches out and declines with the sun.
I am withered like grass.
He has afflicted and weakened my strength; humbling and bringing me low with sorrow in the way.
He has shortened my days and aged me prematurely.
(Some days I have felt like these descriptions. Haven’t you?)
In verse 12, with four words and beginning with a three letter word, everything changes!
“But You, O Lord, are enthroned forever; and the fame of Your name endures to all generations. You will arise and have mercy and loving-kindness…for it is time to have pity and compassion…yes, the set time has come for the designated moment…..When the Lord builds up…He will appear in His glory; He will regard the plea of the destitute and will not despise their prayer.”
Then, to be certain everyone understands what God does for the destitute, the Psalmist includes the next phrase.
“Let this be recorded for the generation yet unborn, that a people yet to be created shall praise the Lord.” (Verse18)
The next two verses portray a God-perfect, but humanly imperfect, scenario—a scene ripe for divine accomplishment. It’s not a vision filled with self-made accomplished characters. (Evidently, God prefers to work with “prisoners appointed to death.” See verse 20)
The diorama, painted by the Psalmist, is filled with “prisoner-people.” People like us, earth’s citizens, imprisoned by our flaws and destined to die for our ungodliness.
Here are the words.
“For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary, from the heaven did the Lord behold the earth,
To hear the sighing and groaning of the prisoner,
To loose those who are appointed to death,
So that men may declare the name of the Lord…and His praise…when people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to worship and serve the Lord.” (verses 19-22)
“They shall perish, but You shall remain and endure; yes, all of them shall wear out and become old like a garment.
Like clothing You shall change them, and they shall be changed and pass away. But You remain the same, and Your years shall have no end. The children of Your servants shall dwell safely and continue, and their descendants shall be established before You.”
Summary note to self…In God’s view, hole-ly jeans (like all flawed things) can be transformed into “Holy genes” if we care to wear them His way.
Isn’t this true?
“Wonderful God, Lover-of-prisoners-like-me, THANK YOU for seeing the old and worn as an opportunity to showcase Your glory. What a fantastic rescue You have designed, offering pitiful us the power of You. You’ve let our human improbabilities become tailor-made occasions to flaunt Your magnificent capabilities. How incredible You are! Help me hand over every weakness for Your development. (I certainly do have a lot to offer You in this area.) Take my weaknesses, Lord. I’m worn out from them! Amen.”