It is a “prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the LORD.” So reads the subtitle of Psalm 102. “Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you!” begins the songwriter. And we writes of desperate days and desert-like depression. Of bones clinging to his flesh . . . of days that are more like evening shadows . . . of intense loneliness. Yet he addresses his “complaint” to the God of promise. And in that, he is confident of a future day of great joy. For his God is a faithful God and is mighty to rescue and to save. In that He is the God promise, there is a sense of anticipation even amidst desperation. And I’m captured this morning by the psalmist’s consideration of “a people yet to be created.”
Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD: that He looked down from His holy height; from heaven the LORD looked at the earth, 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. (Psalm 102:18-22 ESV)
While the psalmist may have had another “generation” in mind, I’m identifying this morning with that “people yet to be created.”
The songwriter is focused on the LORD again building up Zion. Of His glory appearing such that the kings of the earth submit themselves to Him in fear (v. 15-16). He thinks of those held captive by a physical enemy . . . and anticipates the groans of these prisoners eventually leading to their liberation so that they might again declare the LORD’s praise on the holy hill.
But I’m thinking of a people who were held captive by a different enemy. An enemy not content with just physical oppression, but one who vies for the very souls of men. And I think of a people who were enslaved by sin, death, corruption, and darkness. Such darkness that they were unaware of the depths of their bondage. Such oppression that they would stand with their oppressor to defy the living God. Such corruption that they, themselves, became enemies of God and children of wrath.
But just as the psalmist pleaded for his people and that “next generation,” I hear the greater Songwriter intercede for “a people yet to be created.” His song also asking that God would, in His mercy and grace, look down from His holy height and intervene in the lost estate of those doomed to die. And intervene He does.
The Father, who longs to share the love He has known from before the foundation of the world (John 17:24), sends His Son to rescue the prisoner. The Son, in full obedience to the Father, taking up a cup of suffering and shame so that the chains of sin and death might be broken–victory declared through the empty tomb. And the Spirit, perfectly one with the Father and the Son, drawing men and women out of the pit as they, by faith, look to the Son for deliverance.
And this “people yet to be created” is born. They are the redeemed. They are prisoners set free. They are the church . . . the bride of Christ . . . that they might declare amidst a heavenly Jerusalem the name of the LORD. That they might be fashioned into a holy temple . . . a dwelling place for God by the Spirit . . . where praise is sung to a victorious King. That they might form a body of those called to gather together to worship the LORD.
As I read the words of this ancient songwriter I image the lyrics being sung by the greater Psalmist. He who sends His Spirit to woo the prisoner to Himself. He who intercedes for those rescued that they might grow in likeness to Himself. He who desires this people, “yet to be created,” to sing His praises for all eternity.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are Gods people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1Peter 2:9-10 ESV)
A people created through His grace. A people created for His glory.