Psalm 102: 18 – 28
Let’s live with an eye towards the next generation. African pastor, Oscar Muria, made a big impact at this year’s ‘Global Leadership Summit’ in Chicago, with his insistence that ‘you never do ministry alone.’ He has a track record of training huge numbers of younger people to be pastors and leaders, three of whom were with him at the event. He talked about the importance of investing your life in people who are at least twenty years younger than you. He said the real measure of your leadership will be revealed after you’ve gone; you have to instil your vision in those who will be there after you’ve left the stage.
Well that was all inspiring and thought-provoking stuff, but this psalm looks beyond the next generation still alive to a future generation…a people not yet created…(18). In particular, the writer has two big things on his heart: praise and prayer.
· He wants the generation to come be a praising people (18b, 21, and 22). Verses 21 and 22 read like this in The Message: Write it so the story can be told in Zion, so GOD’s praise will be sung in Jerusalem’s streets And wherever people gather together along with their rulers to worship him.
· He wants this coming generation to be a praising people who know for sure that God answers prayer (19, 20). They may face difficult days, as he himself did (23, 24) and as did his city, Jerusalem. But as we have already seen, at the heart of this psalm there lies the conviction that God hears and answers prayer. Even in the face of terribly bleak circumstances he can and does affirm this: He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea (17; see verses 1 & 2). He wants his words, his example to inspire a coming generation, so that they will live in God’s presence (28). He wants them to know that ‘coincidences happen when Christians pray.’
We live in a world of turbulence, turmoil and change. We, and all around us, are transient. But God is eternal (25-27). You have more years than you know what to do with! You laid earth’s foundations a long time ago, and handcrafted the very heavens; You’ll still be around when they’re long gone, threadbare and discarded like an old suit of clothes. You’ll throw them away like a worn-out coat, but year after year you’re as good as new. The Message. He stands at the centre of this Psalm. We may be surrounded by trouble and change on all sides, but He will be our solid Rock if we let Him.
Although this psalmist could not know it at the time, the words he addressed to God in prayer were the very words the Lord spoke to His Son Jesus (Hebs.1:10-12) as they together planned a future far superior than anything this writer could dream of. Through the coming of Christ into the world, His death on the cross, His rising again and ascension into heaven, a whole new life has been made possible. Through faith in Jesus all our wrongs can be forgiven; our broken relationship with God restored. Jesus doesn’t simply give a new start in life, but a whole new life to start with! The psalmist yearned to see the restoration of his city. God did far more than he asked or thought. Aren’t you glad that sometimes the Lord refuses your request but answers your prayer? He gives you an answer better than anything you could think to ask for.