In our Christian world of pretending, the honesty of this man’s anguish should be appreciated by us, not despised. He is struggling. His faith is being tried as never before. He hangs by a thread. He knows how frail and sinful he is. But ultimately, and more importantly, he knows who God is. He knows that God is gracious and that He loves him and that that will never change. And the refining work that God is doing in his heart is more important than maintaining some air of respectability among his peers.
Where do you go when unknown dangers threaten the well-being of your faith? Who do you turn to when loneliness threatens to swallow you alive—and whole—like a thick storm cloud envelops your house? What do you do when the chastening, training hand of God seems so overwhelmingly crushing that you fear you will not survive your present trial of faith? Where do you turn when the sheer pain of loss becomes a blinding fog that hinders you from seeing the goodness of God? What do you do when even God’s ears—the ears of the One who loves you the most—seem deaf to your crying? The answer to each of these questions is the same and is found in Psalm 28.
You go to God. You turn to Him. You trust His great love for you. You keep running to the Lord—not away from Him—in prayer. Especially, and most critically, when you perceive God’s ears have closed to your prayers, still you must go to Him—clinging—resting—believing—that in time you will experience a spiritual breakthrough. Your faith will be purified. Your joy will be restored. Your valley will become a mountain. And you will eventually come forth as gold, even if you must wait until the day you see the Lord and you are received into His tender, everlasting arms.
Psalm 28 is what is referred to as a Lament Psalm. To lament is to express sorrow, regret, and mourning. A lament is a song of sorrow. It is a cry for help amid the many threats faced by the individual believer as well as the whole faith community. Since this lament was written by King David, it seems best to understand his words as a lament for both himself, personally, and for the people of God, corporately. Times of sadness and fear are part of our faith-walk through this fallen world. And so is crying…crying out to God.
In the first five verses of this psalm we listen to David cry out to God in his time of crisis. His need is urgent. Just feel how desperate this man is as he begins to cry out to God. “To You, O LORD, I call; My rock, do not be deaf to me, for if You are silent to me, I will become like those who go down to the pit.”
Three Basic Cries to God
- “Do not ignore me” (vv. 1-2) – The silence of God made the psalmist feel as though he had been united with the wicked in their eternal punishment. Twice he says, “Hear my cry.” John Calvin writes in his commentary, “This repetition is a sign of a heart in anguish….He means that he was so stricken with anxiety and fear, that he prayed not coldly, but with burning, vehement desire, like those who, under the pressure of grief, vehemently cry out.” His heart aches, “Lord, hear my cry for help. Do not turn away from me!”