“Learning to Lament”
David cries out to the Lord in Psalm 86 as a man undone. (I am poor and needy.) It is hard to be needy. It is vulnerable and it feels weak. Asking forgiveness puts us at the mercy of others.
We hesitate examining our own heart for fear of what we see in there. We are tempted to underestimate our sin or compare our shortcomings to others. But there is a beautiful reckoning with God when we come to him undone. We are not informing Him of anything He does not already know. We are simply showing Him we know of our sin and we lament that we chose a way other than God’s way.
It is not until we learn to lament that we learn to live in forgiveness. David spent more of his prayer in proclaiming God’s mercy than in revealing his own sinfulness. A true lament, like a true apology, does not qualify the lament. It does not lay out the extenuating circumstances – it does not need to because God loves to be merciful. When we explain to God that our sin is not that great, it does not free our heart to live in His full forgiveness. Lamenting leads to freedom and freedom leads to joy.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
1. Why is it so hard to come clean to God when we know of His love and mercy?
2. Have you been “qualifying” your sins to yourself and to God?
A prayer of David.
1Bend down, O lord, and hear my prayer;
answer me, for I need your help.
2Protect me, for I am devoted to you.
Save me, for I serve you and trust you.
You are my God.
3Be merciful to me, O Lord,
for I am calling on you constantly.
4Give me happiness, O Lord,
for I give myself to you.
5O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive,
so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.
6Listen closely to my prayer, O lord;
hear my urgent cry.
7I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble,
and you will answer me.
8No pagan god is like you, O Lord.
None can do what you do!
9All the nations you made
will come and bow before you, Lord;
they will praise your holy name.
10For you are great and perform wonderful deeds.
You alone are God.
11Teach me your ways, O lord,
that I may live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart,
so that I may honor you.
12With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to your name forever,
13for your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me from the depths of death.
14O God, insolent people rise up against me;
a violent gang is trying to kill me.
You mean nothing to them.
15But you, O Lord,
are a God of compassion and mercy,
slow to get angry
and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
16Look down and have mercy on me.
Give your strength to your servant;
save me, the son of your servant.
17Send me a sign of your favor.
Then those who hate me will be put to shame,
for you, O lord, help and comfort me. – Psalm 86