Consumed with Grief

Psalm 31:9-12.

Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.

For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.

I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.

I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.

Have you noticed that David seems to sway back and forth between blessing and begging? When we are in deep trouble, deep despair, it’s very hard not to point it out to God–as if He didn’t already know.

Poet that he was, David tells God that “his eye is consumed with grief.” Some of you, my readers, will understand that statement. When the tears just won’t stop, although your eyes are red and sore with weeping? At that point your eye is consumed with grief. It seems that the acute mourning will never stop.

Why was David so consumed with grief? I think one important factor is that his own son, Absalom, had betrayed him. Others that he had considered close companions deserted him.

However, it is in v. 10 that we see the real cause of his grieving: His iniquity. He was guilty of great sin, resulting in the death of his first-born son with Bathsheba. That wasn’t the only time he had sinned against God and man, and his grief was exacerbated by his thoughts of those times when he was far from God. Being far from God–that alone would increase his grief. Not for the first time, he mentions that his bones were eaten up by his grief.

It seemed to David as if everyone–friends, neighbors, enemies–all of them were against him. Here’s a quote that says it very well:

If anyone strives after patience and humility, he is a hypocrite. If he allows himself in the pleasures of this world, he is a glutton. If he seeks justice, he is impatient; if he seeks it not, he is a fool. If he would be prudent, he is stingy; if he would make others happy, he is dissolute. If he gives himself up to prayer, he is vainglorious. And this is the great loss of the church, that by means like these many are held back from goodness in which the Psalmist lamenting says, ‘I became a reproof among all mine enemies

(Chrysostom, cited in Spurgeon)

I’m sure we have all felt, at times, as if we can’t do anything right. People in leadership tend to discover that no matter how well things are going, there is always someone who disapproves.

In v. 12, David says he is as a dead man, completely out of the minds of his people. He is a broken vessel, discarded and useless.

But stay with me. Things will look better tomorrow.

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