Together, we serve
to know Christ
and to make Christ known
for the glory of God

18 April 2018

Acts 13
Psalm 39

Be honest with God (Psalm 39)
We will continue with the theme of prayer in today’s reading, but will change our focus to the Psalms, Psalm 39, to be specific. Many believers are drawn to the Psalms and regularly meditate of this part of the Bible for their daily devotions. The oft-quoted ACTS acronym regarding prayer – adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication – provides a helpful pattern for praying through this part of Scripture. However, Psalm 39 doesn’t neatly fit into any of these ACTS categories. It is labelled a psalm of lament. One commentator describes these psalms as follows: “The Lament Psalms are complaints to God, plain and simple. Even more than the “why” and “how long” psalms ….the Laments express to God the raw feelings that we sometimes experience when what we know about God (His love and mercy) just does not square with what we see happening to us in the real world. We see this pattern in Psalm 39:
“10 Remove your scourge from me; 
         I am overcome by the blow of your hand…
      13 Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again 
         before I depart and am no more.”
As a believer, you may balk at the thought of lamenting about God. After all, aren’t we meant to love and fear Him, no matter what? But clearly the Bible considers it permissible. In these laments, it is important to note that the believer is not complaining to others about God, but is rather in dialogue with God. As such, these laments portray a perspective of faith, not unbelief. Once again we can see this truth in Psalm 39:
“7 But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you.
8 Save me from all my transgressions;
do not make me the scorn of fools…
12 Hear my prayer, LORD,
listen to my cry for help;
do not be deaf to my weeping.”
Are you struggling in your walk with God, bewildered by life’s events and perhaps disappointed with God? The temptation is to turn from Him. But these psalms of lament are a reminder that your experience is not unique amongst God’s people. They encourage you to be honest with God and to persist in your faith, even when nothing makes sense. And reflection on Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection  will teach you that suffering and struggles will not have the last word in your life.