1 Hear my prayer, O LORD;
let my cry for help come to you.
2 Do not hide your face from me
when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
when I call, answer me quickly.
25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
and they will be discarded.
27 But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.
At the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring Bilbo Baggins quips, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” This is how this Psalmist, “an afflicted man,” describes his situation. Some of the language that the Psalmist is using is physical distress, whist other language describes his emotional turmoil. A nice piece of clothing, no matter how careful we are, gets worn out and the fibres fray.
This is in fact the cry of one whose sufferings are unexplained, like Job’s. As the title implies, it is a prayer which others who are near the end of their endurance can echo, finding words here that lead them ‘into a large place’.
The troubles, to begin with, are private griefs, but later they are transcended by concern for Zion, whose destiny is glorious yet painfully slow in coming to fulfilment. A final passage draws out the contrast between the human time-scale and the Lord’s eternity, bringing the psalm to a majestic conclusion which is quoted in praise of Christ in the opening chapter of Hebrews.
So the psalm, we learn, is Messianic; and in the light of that, the sufferings and the world-embracing vision of the speaker lead the mind to Psalm 22. For the ground on which Hebrews 1:10–12 discerns the Son of God here. Hebrews 1:10–12 quotes verses 25–27 word for word (as Septuagint, including the added ‘Lord’ in 25a), with one minor change of word-order; and verse 27 (you are the same) may also underlie the great saying of Hebrews 13:8, ‘Jesus Christ … the same …’. The epistle opens our eyes to what would otherwise be brought out only by the Septuagint of verses 23 and following, namely that the Father is here replying to the Son, ‘through whom all things were made’; and this implies that the sufferer throughout the psalm is also the Son incarnate.
Are you feeling worn out? Look to the Grand Weaver who faithfully renews all things. Look to the one who on the cross was stripped naked that we might be clothed with his righteousness.