Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll —are they not in your record? Psalm 56:8
“Big boys don’t cry.” That’s what I grew up hearing. Now, Fergie tells us “Big girls don’t cry” either. But, honestly, some things in life are so terrible and so painful that it should evoke tears.
Lament is not a word that we use a lot. Jeremiah wrote an entire book of the Bible called “Lamentations.” We tend not to go there. According to the dictionary, lament means “to feel, show, or express grief, sorrow, or regret” or “to mourn.” (Source: Dictionary.com )
David, the psalmist here, had much to lament in his life. Some of those things were his own fault: adultery (2 Samuel 11), murder (2 Samuel 11:15-17), his children’s unchecked behavior (2 Samuel 13-15) – these things were David’s fault. But, in writing this psalm, David had done nothing wrong at this point in his life. In fact, David was following God’s will and was being hunted down like a fugitive. If you’re following God’s will, shouldn’t it all be rosy? Think again.
David had been anointed king over Israel to replace Saul (1 Samuel 16). David humbly served in Saul’s administration (1 Samuel 16). David wasn’t presumptuous about his future reign. He patiently waited, and Saul threw a spear at his head (1 Samuel 19:9-10). So, David ran.
David wasn’t safe anywhere he went. Saul searched for him in every dog house, hen house and outhouse in the region (a little Tommy Lee Jones there). Saul was the predator. David was the prey.
David had done nothing wrong. David was the recipient of Saul’s jealousy, anger and resentment. The problem wasn’t David. The problem was Saul. But, David faced the consequences of Saul’s sin. It was unfair. It was unjust.
David poured out his lament to God. “Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride” (Psalm 56:1-2). David needed to have God on his side. David didn’t have anyone else.
The result of David’s lament was this assurance: “Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise -- in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:9-11)
What can man do to him? They could beat him, imprison him, torture him, kill him – that’s what man can do. But, David’s focus was not on his enemies. His focus was on God. “…when I call for help…I will know that God is for me…What can man do to me?” If God is for us, then who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
God is for you. Say that to yourself: “God is for me.” Say it softly, out loud: “God is for me.” Shout it if you need to.
What are you up against today? God is for you. Ask for His help. Give Him your praise. God will vindicate everyone who is treated unjustly. Maybe in this life, but definitely in the next.
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