Psalm 5: Cry
Cry. Not the kind that involves tears. Well, not specifically at any rate. I mean, tears could be a part of it but that’s not the emphasis. Not in this case. Rather, this verse of scripture is talking about crying out. Yelling. Hollering. Screaming. Shouting. For help. You know……HHHEEELLLPPP!!! Not in fear. Not in terror. But from a desperate need for help. You know what I mean. That whole I-can’t-do-this-on-my-own-just-completely-overwhelmed-pulling-my-hair-out-can’t-see-any-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-oh-my-gosh-for-the-love-of-all-that’s-holy-can’t-do-this-one-more-day-I-need-some-help. Yeah. That’ what I’m talking about. A cry for help.
I know that those of us who call the U.S. of A. home tend to believe that history revolves around the English language. But it’s just not true. For example, the OT was written in Hebrew. And sometimes in order for us to best understand the text we need to consider what the original word meant to it’s initial audience. This particular Hebrew word appears 39 times in the OT. In almost every instance we translate it into English by using three words, “cry for help.” Now, they might not always be joined together in our English sentence construction. For example, you might find the phrase, “…cry out to You for help.” But those 3 words are still there representing just one word in the Hebrew. The emphasis in the Hebrew is not on the type of crying that we tend to connect with emotion. Rather, the emphasis in the Hebrew is on asking for help. Big difference between the two. Tears do not mean a person is either ready or even willing to ask for help. Many of the Psalms are filled with deep emotion. But in this particular one David is talking about crying out for help because he had encountered a problem too big to handle on his own.
Let me illustrate with something that we did in children’s church last week. We placed a very big and very heavy recliner at the front of the room. I then chose a very small, young boy to serve as my assistant. I told him that the chair was in the wrong place and that I needed it on the other side of the classroom. Without a moment’s hesitation he starting pushing and straining with every last ounce of his strength. But no matter how hard he tried the chair would not move. Given his size the chair was too big for him to handle. I told the class that God longs to help us. He is just waiting for us to ask. The little boy looked up at me and said two words, “Help me.” I bent down next to him and together we pushed the chair across the stage with no problem. He asked for my help and I responded. The task that had been too large for him was easily accomplished when he cried out for help.
In Psalm 5 David is asking God to help him “move the chair.” David is overwhelmed. The problems of being a king have become more than he can handle on his own. He doesn’t know what to do. And even if he did have the answers, he knows that he doesn’t possess the necessary strength. David recognizes that he needs help…the kind that only God can give. And so, he prays. He cries out. He turns to God and asks for help. Remember that next time the problems of life have you feeling overwhelmed. God knows your need. He knows the problems that you face. And He wants to help. He’s just waiting for you to ask.