Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Psalm 25:16
In his book Adopted for Life, Dr. Russell Moore describes his family’s trip to an orphanage to adopt a child. As they entered the nursery, the silence was startling. The babies in the cribs never cried, and it wasn’t because they never needed anything but because they’d learned that no one cared enough to answer.
My heart ached as I read those words. I remember countless nights when our children were small. My wife and I would be sound asleep only to be startled awake by their cries: “Daddy, I’m sick!” or “Mommy, I’m scared!” One of us would spring into action and make our way to their bedroom to do our best to comfort and care for them. Our love for our children gave them reason to call for our help.
An overwhelming number of the psalms are cries, or laments, to God. Israel brought their laments to Him on the basis of His personal relationship with them. These were a people God had called His “firstborn” (Exodus 4:22) and they were asking their Father to act accordingly. Such honest trust is seen in Psalm 25: “Turn to me and be gracious to me, . . . free me from my anguish” (vv. 16–17). Children who are confident of the love of a caregiver do cry. As believers in Jesus—children of God—He’s given us reason to call on Him. He hears and cares because of His great love.
How comfortable are you taking your cries to God? Why? How might you offer up a lament to Him today?
Heavenly Father, thank You so much for Your faithfulness to hear my cry and to act.
In the superscription of Psalm 25, the only information provided is that David is the author. Unlike some of his psalms (see Psalm 51), there’s no hint as to the events that triggered its writing. Based on the lyrical content, some scholars suggest that it may refer to the times when David was pursued either by Saul or Absalom, but due to the penitent nature of the psalm, others see it as perhaps following David’s sin with Bathsheba. Either way, Psalm 25 is an individual lament (as opposed to a national lament). Its main feature is that it’s an acrostic—each verse begins with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This feature is a Hebrew poetic device that’s likely intended to make the psalm easier to memorize. That same characteristic is found in Psalms 9, 10, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, and 145.