The people of Jerusalem gather, early in the morning, at the temple on Mount Zion. Among them are many of the poor, some of the middle-class, and perhaps even a very few of the wealthy. They've gathered for morning worship and to receive encouragement. They want to hear about and worship the God of Israel. They want to hear about the God Who cares, Who cares not only about great issues, but even about their social concerns, about the troubles of the poor, about the righteousness or unrighteousness of the merchants, about the kind or cruel treatment they receive from the magistrates - about daily living in general. They've come to be led in prayer to their merciful God and to join together in praise and thanksgiving to Him.
So the worship leader, knowing many of their needs and concerns, brings out for them a psalm, a song of prayer, praise, remembrance, and thanksgiving. He sings the first line: "Why do You stand afar off, O Lord?" The people repeat the line, and their hearts respond knowingly, because at that moment it does seem for some of them like the Lord has forgotten their individual concerns.
Then the second line just amplifies the thought of the first line. They sing, "Why do You hide in times of trouble?" Many of the worshippers feel exactly that way - as though the Lord were hiding from them just when they need Him most.
Then the leader sings out about the kinds of circumstances that bring on these feelings. He says, "The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor." Capturing the feelings of the worshippers, the leader then sings a prayer about it: "Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised!" He goes on to describe the wicked person as boasting of how he's going to "get" the poor, about his complete carelessness about God. He describes the wicked as boasting about how he seems to prosper anyway, despite what he does to the poor, about his unkind and cruel words, and about his deceit and oppression.
Then, continuing to lead the people in a song they understand only too well, he describes how the godless and cruel oppressors go about their oppression in secret, like preying animals, and how they're entirely persuaded that God doesn't concern Himself with what they're doing.
Then the leader turns back to the people themselves again and leads them in prayerful song. He leads them to sing, "Arise, O Lord! O God, lift up Your hand. Do not forget the humble!" Then, paraphrasing his next words, he might be saying, "Don't let them mock Your care, Lord!!" Finally, he then leads the people in an expression of confidence: "But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, to repay it by Your hand! The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless!" THAT'S what the people need to know!
Finally, knowing that the Lord DOES care, the leader naturally turns to praise. He sings, "The Lord is King forever and ever; the nations have perished out of His land. Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may oppress no more."
As the people repeat each line their hearts grow more and more confident, more and more glad in the Lord, more and more sure that they have a God Who actually cares.
How about you? Can you slowly read this song, slowly gain confidence, and then can you finally come to the conclusion that HE CARES ABOUT YOU?
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