The first collection of prayer poetry in the Psalter closes with David’s repeated plea for healing from a serious illness. He does not wait until the healing is complete before effusively praising Yahweh.
But you, O Lord, have mercy on me; raise me up, that I may repay them.
I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me.
In my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever.
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen. (vv 10-13)
David has walked over this ground many times, penning a prayer for relief from whatever ailment was causing his distress. The preceding handful of psalms were similar pleas for mercy while acknowledging that his illness was directly related to his sin. Stepping outside of himself, he looks in through the eyes of those who are enjoying his travail.
I said, “O Lord, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die and his name perish?” (vv 4-5)
To whom are we going to give our attention? It is all too easy to allow the feelings and actions of others to influence our relationship with God. Their malice may even convince us that God has given up, that he has turned his eyes away from us. When we are in the midst of our battles, when our pit of despair seems to grow deeper by the day, when we may even feel as though all is lost…we must praise. We must flip to this psalm and raise our voices to the heavens and declare that despite current circumstance, we say “Praise to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.”
Amen and Amen.