In its title, Psalm 102 says it is a prayer of one afflicted when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the Lord. Many psalms have this voice of the one afflicted, the one in terrible grief, the one being crushed under great persecution from his enemies, the one whose body is suffering great sickness. But, after the psalmist cries out in anguish, in almost every case he turns his eyes to the Lord and begins to declare his trust in Him.
Crying out in pain then declaring trust in the Lord is a recurring theme throughout the Bible. Think of Job when he says that though God slay him yet will he trust or hope in God. Or, Jesus in the garden, sweating drops of blood as he prays, asking if there is a way that he can avoid the cup, but saying not my will be but yours be done Father.
In Psalm 102, we read the plaintive cry of a man who sees his life is short and his end of days is near. But, in verses 12-13, he writes, “But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations. You will arise and have pity on Zion [the city of God’s people].” The psalmist goes on to write the Lord builds up Zion and appears in his glory there.
But, I love what the psalmist writes in verse 18, “Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.” He knows that what he and the others of his day are enduring is not just for them but for a people yet to be created.
This word create is the same as in Genesis 1 when it says that in the beginning God created the heavens and earth. Throughout the entire Bible the only subject of the Hebrew word for create (bara) is God. God is the only one that creates. And, God recorded the words of this psalmist for a people that he had not created yet. Created not in physical sense, for typically the Bible does not use the word create in a physical sense. But, a people yet to be created for a specific purpose and function, which is what God gives when he creates.
Now, that people has been created. It is made up of all believers in Jesus. Basically, the Jews believed there were two races – Jews and Gentiles. But, the early Christians saw themselves as a new race. Indeed they called themselves the third race, or the new man. They saw themselves as a new people. This is why we read in Galatians that there is neither Jew nor Gentile in Christ.
Back to the psalm. Why was this people created? To praise God! What were they to praise God for? It’s in verses 19-22:
“…that he looked down from his holy height; to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die, that they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord, and in Jerusalem his praise, when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.”
Let us be that people, giving praise and thanks to the Lord in all things.