Psalm 102 - The evening shadow

Psalm 102 - The evening shadow

Read: Psalm 102 vs 1-28

Yesterday we were reading Psalm 101, words that spoke of how ‘every morning’ the writer made choices and took actions to honour God in their life. Today we come to Psalm 102, a Psalm that takes us to the other end of the day with its reference to ‘the evening shadow’ (vs 11). On closer reading we realise that the writer of this prayer is not describing a time of the day but is rather describing a very personal feeling deep within their heart. Evening shadows a only there for a time and then they fade as light gives way to a blanket of darkness. It is this picture which the Psalmist lays hold of to describe their thoughts as they come before God.

The title tells us that this is a prayer ‘of an afflicted person’, someone ‘who has grown weak’ and is pouring out a lament before the LORD. The Psalms wrestle us away from a belief that true faith will always be bright, this is a prayer of distress (vs 2) and that heart that feels withered and small (vs 4). Here is a believer who has been ‘reduced to skin and bone’ (vs 5), they feel alone, and in their ears they can hear the taunts of those who are suggesting that God is either deaf, or disinterested in their cries for help.

As so often in the Psalms there is a turning point in this prayer, and it comes in verse 12. The Psalmist turns from their own emptiness and distress (and these things are real) and refocus on the LORD seated on His throne. This weary believer is caught in a moment of despair, but the greatness of God’s name ‘endures through all generations’ (vs 12). In faith this person declares that the LORD will respond to the prayer of the destitute and He will not depise their plea. 

Reading this Psalm today it’s amazing to think of its first writer imagining ‘future generations’ (vs 18) reflecting on their words; words of honest human pain, and even tragedy (vs 23) and yet words of faith, holding onto a God who is always holding onto them (vs 28).

Prayer: Father hear the prayers of those whose life slips away today. May hope be found in a real and personal experience of Your goodness and Your nearness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.