“Therefore, His People return hither—and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.”
When “your tears have been your food day and night” (Ps. 42:3a) and there seems to be no end to your sorrow, it’s important to remember what to do and to Whom to turn.
Ps. 73 has sometimes been called “The Psalm of Perplexity.” The author, Asaph, of whom little is known, evidently knew firsthand the anguish of mind and agony of soul that comes when “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” (vv.3-7, 12). He also knew the sting from their sharp tongues and the foul odor of their arrogance (vv.8-11).
It was out of this oppressiveness—and feeling of “What’s the use?” (vv.13-15)—that he penned today’s Manna. He knew well those tears that rise up from the depths of a troubled soul, i.e., those that are “wrung out (Heb. ‘matsah’—‘to suck out, squeeze out, etc.’) as water into a nearby cup.”
And, oh how bitter those tears.
He may not have known of the Indians’ “Trail of Tears” from the southeastern parts of the U.S. to other areas in 1931; neither did he know anything about the Bataan death march in the Philippines in 1942, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of U.S.-Filipino prisoners-of-war.
But, he did know the seeming inequities and injustices of pagans’ prosperity while God’s saints’ suffered, even though they’d been faithfully serving Him for many years.
That’s why it’s important for us to get alone with God and pour out our hearts to Him when our cups of sorrow are overflowing. Like Jesus in the Garden, we may cry “Oh, Father, if it be Your Will, let this cup pass from me” (Mt. 26:39a). Although our “cup” may not be impending death on the Cross, it might be a doctor’s dismal diagnosis or prognosis. . .or it might be a sudden upheaval in finances or family. . .or it might be a dashing of all of our hopes and dreams on the hard rocks of reality.
Regardless, the “cup” is full and overflowing. And, all of our pleas for a reprieve seemingly go unanswered—UNTIL we get alone with God (Ps. 73:16-17). Only then do we gain new perspective on everything and realize that we must drink the cup dry (including the dregs) even as the Lord Jesus did.
And, this cannot happen (at least without bitterness) until we can honestly pray “Not my will, but Yours be done” (Mt. 26:39b).
When Asaph realized the Lord had been “right there with him the whole time. . .holding him by His right Hand. . .guiding him with His counsel. . .and would later on receive him into His Glory” (vv.23-24), he broke out into praise, crying “Whom have I in Heaven but You? And, there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail—but You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (v.25). Hallelujah!
Dear Pilgrim, if your cup of sorrow is overflowing right now, fix your eyes on Jesus and keep them there (Heb. 12:2). Cry out to Him as a brokenhearted child would to a loving father/ mother. Then lay your weary head upon His breast and “be still and know that He is God” (Ps. 46:10) and He loves you very, very much (Ps. 56:8—KJV). Rest in Him.
September 5, 2011