When Life Overwhelms You, Psalm 102

Psa 102 Featured Image.001

Download the Notes:


When Life Overwhelms You 

How to pray when life overwhelms you

Psalm 102

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • October 25, In the year of our Lord, 2015

Scripture Reader and Reading: Wayne Duncan – Philippians 4.6–7

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Phil Joseph – Songs on Prayer


  1. Psalm 102.0 – When Life Overwhelms You

    0 A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before the Lord.

    1. In one form or another life afflicts us,
      1. everyone of us,
      2. even holy men such as the psalmist.
    2. The affliction can overwhelm us.
      1. Regardless of why it overwhelms,
      2. we should do what the psalmist did.
    3. The psalmist poured out his complaint to the Lord, because
      1. He wants to hear of your struggles,
      2. even as your best friend or your father wants to hear of your struggles.
        1. Your friend loves you.
        2. The Lord loves you.
          1. Pouring out your complaint might even require you
          2. to ask your brethren to pray for you.
            1. Go forward at the invitation, or
            2. submit a request on the member card or whatever, but
              1. whether by yourself or with your brethren,
              2. pour out your soul to the Lord.
    4. Pouring out your complaint to the Lord does not mean
      1. telling Him what a poor job He is doing, but
      2. it is telling Him what ails you.
        1. It is not our job to tell Him how to do His job.
        2. We submit our wishes and He acts accordingly.
  2. Psalm 102.1–2 – Plead for the Lord to Hear

    1 Hear my prayer, O Lord,
    And let my cry come to You.
    2 Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble;
    Incline Your ear to me;
    In the day that I call, answer me speedily.

    1. You just have to state plainly what you want from the Lord.
      1. Be careful not to demand from Him as though He is your servant.
      2. Remember that He is our Master, but
        1. He is also love.
        2. Ask Him to hear what you have to say.
    2. Here the psalmist opened up and stated:
      1. For the Lord to hear the psalmist’s prayer;
      2. For the Lord to let the cry of the psalmist go to the Lord;
      3. For the Lord not to hide from the psalmist in the day of trouble;
      4. For the Lord to incline His ear to the psalmist; and
      5. For the Lord to answer the call of the psalmist speedily.
        1. Do you think the Lord would turn away from such a request?
        2. Would not such a request make you want to listen?
  3. Psalm 102.3–11 – Explain Your Plea to the Lord

    3 For my days are consumed like smoke,
    And my bones are burned like a hearth.
    4 My heart is stricken and withered like grass,
    So that I forget to eat my bread.
    5 Because of the sound of my groaning
    My bones cling to my skin.
    6 I am like a pelican of the wilderness;
    I am like an owl of the desert.
    7 I lie awake,
    And am like a sparrow alone on the housetop.
    8 My enemies reproach me all day long;
    Those who deride me swear an oath against me.
    9 For I have eaten ashes like bread,
    And mingled my drink with weeping,
    10 Because of Your indignation and Your wrath;
    For You have lifted me up and cast me away.
    11 My days are like a shadow that lengthens,
    And I wither away like grass.

    1. Give the Lord good reason or reasons to answer your request.
      1. Explain to Him how you are doing.
      2. Does it matter to you how your family is doing?
    2. Did the psalmist have a good reason for the Lord to listen and to respond?
      1. The days of the psalmist were going away like smoke.
      2. His bones burned like a hearth.
      3. Something struck his heart and made it wither like grass.
      4. This bothered him so much he forgot about eating.
      5. He groaned so much that his bones clung to his skin.
      6. He could not sleep.
        1. He was like a pelican of the wilderness,
        2. like an owl of the desert, and
        3. like a lonely sparrow on a roof,
          1. he was alone.
          2. This was not a time to be alone.
      7. His enemies reproached him endlessly, swearing an oath to get him.
      8. Ashes were his bread.
      9. Tears mingled with his drink.
      10. God’s wrath had lifted him up and cast him away.
      11. The psalmist could see his days ending like shadows growing into night.
      12. He withered like grass.
    3. Would the Lord hear such a prayer?
      1. How could it not touch Him?
      2. The psalmist was in deep depression.
        1. He needed the Lord.
        2. The Lord would act for one of His people in this condition.
  4. Psalm 102.12–17 – Have Confidence that the Lord Will Respond to Your Plea

    12 But You, O Lord, shall endure forever,
    And the remembrance of Your name to all generations.
    13 You will arise and have mercy on Zion;
    For the time to favor her,
    Yes, the set time, has come.
    14 For Your servants take pleasure in her stones,
    And show favor to her dust.
    15 So the nations shall fear the name of the Lord,
    And all the kings of the earth Your glory.
    16 For the Lord shall build up Zion;
    He shall appear in His glory.
    17 He shall regard the prayer of the destitute,
    And shall not despise their prayer.

    1. At verse 12, the psalmist took a new route.
      1. You heard the sadness and the desperation of the psalmist,
      2. as he sought the Lord’s pity, but
        1. here the heart of the psalmist changed.
        2. As he thought on the Lord and prayed to Him,
          1. the psalmist knew of victory in the Lord.
    2. For one thing, the Lord endures forever,
      1. so that His name is remembered in all generations.
      2. Our state as children of the Lord,
        1. followers of Jesus the Christ,
        2. proves the point of the psalmist.
          1. We are 10,000 miles away.
          2. We are 3,000 years down the line.
          3. We speak a different language.
          4. We have a culture that does not resemble the psalmist’s.
    3. Listen to the psalmist as his heart grows mighty in the Lord:
      1. Since the Lord does endure forever,
      2. He would have favor on Zion.
        1. He, and others like him, took pleasure in the stones of Zion.
        2. He showed favor to her dust.
    4. Therefore, the nations feared the name of the Lord and
      1. kings feared the glory of the Lord.
      2. The nations and their kings fight the Lord’s people, but then
        1. the enemy sees the God of heaven rebuild His people and
        2. that frightens those attacking the people of God.
          1. This happened with Israel of old and
          2. with the church from the first century up to our generation.
    5. The psalmist knew that the Lord would regard the prayer of the destitute and
      1. would not despise such a prayer.
      2. The Lord does not rebuke His people for approaching Him in prayer.
    6. These verses show:
      1. God’s eternal nature,
      2. God acting,
      3. going into action for His people who love Zion, and
      4. the fruit of His action is, namely,
        1. nations fear the name of the Lord, and
        2. kings fear His glory.
          1. Revelation 11 shows the enemies of the church fighting her.
          2. They rejoice when the church and the word
            1. suffer a defeat, but then
            2. the enemy sees the church and the word rise again, and
              1. the enemy fears greatly and then,

                15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev 11.15).
  5. Psalm 102.18 – Your Plea for Future Generations

    18 This will be written for the generation to come,
    That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.

    1. And it was written, and
    2. now a generation not yet born at that time, praises the Lord.
      1. This shall stay written for all future generations.
      2. Nothing can keep it from being so, for

        35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but [the] words [of Jesus] will by no means pass away” (Matt 24.35).

        1. His words remain, because
        2. the Lord wants us to know what He thinks of us.
  6. Psalm 102.19–22 – The Lord Will Hear Your Plea

    19 For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary;
    From heaven the Lord viewed the earth,
    20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner,
    To release those appointed to death,
    21 To declare the name of the Lord in Zion,
    And His praise in Jerusalem,
    22 When the peoples are gathered together,
    And the kingdoms, to serve the Lord.

    1. The Lord
      1. looked down,
      2. heard, and
      3. declared the name of the Lord.
    2. His name triumphs over all.
    3. Verses 21 and 22 show more than Israel gathering together, and
      1. more than Israel serving the Lord.
      2. Shortly, you will see why the psalmist included more than Israel.
  7. Psalm 102.23–28 – We Cease; The Lord Continues

    23 He weakened my strength in the way;
    He shortened my days.
    24 I said, “O my God,
    Do not take me away in the midst of my days;
    Your years are throughout all generations.
    25 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth,
    And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
    26 They will perish, but You will endure;
    Yes, they will all grow old like a garment;
    Like a cloak You will change them,
    And they will be changed.
    27 But You are the same,
    And Your years will have no end.
    28 The children of Your servants will continue,
    And their descendants will be established before You.”

    1. We lose our strength.
      1. Our days shorten.
      2. We grow old and die.
        1. The Lord has done this, because
        2. sin entered the world and death through sin.
    2. Notice the powerful contrasts in verses 25–27.
      1. The Lord created the heavens and the Earth.
      2. Therefore, the Lord outlasts the heavens and the Earth.
        1. Even as you outlast your clothing,
        2. so the Lord will outlast the creation.
          1. Even as you change your clothing,
          2. so the Lord changes the creation.
    3. Since the Lord lasts forever,
      1. His children will last forever.
      2. He will always be present to hear our prayers.
    4. Now get this:
      1. Did verses 25–27 sound familiar?
      2. Hebrews 1 argues that this passage speaks of Jesus!
        1. The writer demonstrated in Hebrews 1
        2. that Jesus is greater than the angels,
          1. quoting several Old Testament passages to make his point,
          2. before quoting Psalm 102,

            10 And:
            “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
            And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
            11 They will perish, but You remain;
            And they will all grow old like a garment;
            12 Like a cloak You will fold them up,
            And they will be changed.
            But You are the same,
            And Your years will not fail.”
            (Heb 1.10–12)

            1. That means the whole Psalm refers to Jesus our Lord.
            2. That means that Lord, Jehovah, or Yahweh is Jesus.
              1. In fact, the Hebrew writer quoted verses 25–27, but
              2. in verse 24, the psalmist refer to this Lord as, “O my God.”
                1. Then the writer showed why the Lord is God.
                  1. He laid the foundation of the Earth.
                  2. The heavens are the work His hands.
                2. Jesus created all that you see.
                  1. Jesus is your everything.
                  2. Jesus is your ever present help.