“When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting,
it became my reproach.
When I made sackcloth my clothing,
I became a byword to them.
I am the talk of those who sit in the gate,
and the drunkards make songs about me.
But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.”
I love the humility displayed in this psalm. In the midst of difficulty and reproach, the writer (David) looks to his God for assurance and salvation.
He isn’t allowing the reactions of those around him to change his character. He doesn’t respond to them in kind, seeking to fix the situation himself through his own strength or ability to intimidate. He also doesn’t alter his actions to please them. His eyes are instead fixed on his Lord, offering his prayer to the One who has wisdom far beyond our own.
David’s humility isn’t only seen in his statement of humbling his soul with fasting. It characterizes his prayer. “At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.” What a difficult prayer this can be. It is not a demand for immediate justice or deliverance. It is not a statement of how God needs to come through. Rather, it is a humble plea offered to the God who knows and understands and reigns over all things. It is a clear surrendering to His will. David is appealing to the abundance of God’s steadfast love and to His saving faithfulness, trusting that his Lord will come through at the perfect time—whether it is the timing David prefers or not.
What a beautiful display of faith that we can apply to our life: in each season, fixing our eyes on Christ and calling to mind the abundance of His steadfast love and saving faithfulness. Because He never changes. And whether or not we see Him working, regardless of how His timing fits in with our preferences, we can trust that our God’s way is perfect. At the perfect time (which is the only timing acceptable to our holy God whose greatness is unsearchable), in the abundance of His steadfast love for us, He will answer us in His saving faithfulness.
“The Rock, his work is perfect,
for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
just and upright is he.”