April 25th, 2016
You may be surprised to know that complaints dominate the book of Psalms. In fact, roughly one-third of all psalms are individual complaints and laments.
Likely written from Babylon, Psalm 102 is unique in that its title is not attributed to anyone in particular; it lacks any notes related to Israel’s worship or history. Instead, it is grounded in individual circumstance, a lament for one who is withering under affliction and faintheartedness.
At their center, complaint psalms illustrate suffering and include a plea for deliverance. Yet many complaints are also linked to praise. Despite being “reduced to skin and bones” in verse 5, the psalmist declares, “The name of the Lord will be declared in Zion” (v. 12).
Surprisingly, complaint psalms often culminate in a confident declaration that God will come to the rescue: “You will arise and have compassion on Zion,” the psalmist affirms (v. 13). In this expression of confidence, this complaint is turned inside-out.
When we’re tempted to lament, may the Spirit inspire us to offer thanksgiving.
Author: Jay Richard Akkerman