I’m learning a lot about music in this study. So if you look at this Psalm it has this puzzling introduction which is part of the Scripture which states: “To the leader; with stringed instruments; according to the Sheminith.” According to the what? So in Hebrew if you look at the word sheminith it has as its root “eight”. What we think, keeping the psalm in mind, is that this psalm was to be played an octave lower to highlight the agony and the lament that takes place in the psalm. We see the same word used in I Chronicles 15:21 and it refers again to a musical piece being played in a similar manner. If nothing else this incredibly exquisite detail should remind us that these psalms are not just words that are passed down from heaven without any significant impact on the individuals who wrote them. No, in fact, these psalms were written with an eye to detail by real people who had real preferences for the type of music that accompanied these songs and prayers.
Now on to the meat of the psalm. There are two very distinct sections to this Psalm. We can separate it into vss.1-7 and then 8-9. We can pretty much assume from the first part of this Psalm that it makes sense that this is written by David after the death of his son Absalom. We saw that in Psalm 3 where David fled from him, but now we see the end result of that story in the Bible where Absalom is killed and David is filled with type of grief that is inconsolable and without hope. But look what happens at vs. 8. After crying out to the Lord, after being angry at the Lord, we see an incredible transformation.
I need to say that there have been times when I have been angry with the Lord and I absolutely let Him know it. This scene from this movie has always resonated with me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5v5DOEF45E. Again, like yesterday’s clip, it is a bit on the extreme side, but it works perfectly in this Psalm. I can see King David yelling at the Lord just like Robert Duvall. Vs. 3 the Psalmist calls out: How long?
But the transition comes in vs.8 where find that the Lord has answered the psalmist. “The Lord has heard the sound of my weeping”, and again, “The Lord has heard my supplication”, and again, “The Lord accepts my prayer.” It takes him a while to get there, but he gets there. In the midst of this anger and grief he comes to the realization at the end of the Psalm that God is, and always was, there.
So it is okay to be angry with God, just don’t live and reside in your anger. There has to come a time, hopefully sooner rather than later, when you switch as the Psalmist does and say: Thank you Jesus for accepting my prayer.