A Cry for Help
For the Pure and Shining One
A song of praising by King David # 39 The Hebrew inscription includes the name Jeduthun, which can be translated “praising.”
1-2Here’s my life motto, the truth I live by:
I will guard my ways for all my days.
I will speak only what is right, guarding what I speak.
Like a watchman guards against an attack of the enemy,
I’ll guard and muzzle my mouth
when the wicked are around me.
I will remain silent and will not grumble
or speak out of my disappointment.
But the longer I’m silent, the more my pain grows worse!
3-4My heart burned with a fire within me,
and my thoughts eventually boiled over
until they finally came rolling out of my mouth:
“Lord, help me to know how fleeting my time on earth is.
Help me to know how limited is my life
and that I’m only here but for a moment more.
5What a brief # 39:5 Interestingly, the Hebrew word for “brief” in this verse is “a handbreadth,” or the span of a man’s hand. Our life’s duration is compared to a mere six-inch span! time you’ve given me to live!
Compared to you my lifetime is nothing at all!
Nothing more than a puff of air—I’m gone so swiftly.
So too are the grandest of men;
they are nothing but a fleeting shadow!”
Pause in his presence
6We live our lives like those living in shadows. # 39:6 Or “like phantoms going to and fro.”
All our activities and energies are spent for things that pass away.
We gather, we hoard, we cling to our things,
only to leave them all behind for who knows who.
7And now, God, # 39:7 The Aramaic is Maryah, the Aramaic form of YHWH or Lord Yahweh. I’m left with one conclusion:
my only hope is to hope in you alone!
8Save me from being overpowered by my sin;
don’t make me a disgrace before the degenerate.
9Lord, I’m left speechless and I have no excuse,
so I’ll not complain any longer.
Now I know you’re the one who is behind it all.
10But I can’t take it much longer.
Spare me these blows from your discipline-rod.
For if you are against me, I will waste away to nothing.
11No one endures when you rebuke and discipline us for our sins.
Like a cobweb is swept away with a wave of the hand,
you sweep away all that we once called dear.
How fleeting and frail our lives!
We’re nothing more than a puff of air.
Pause in his presence
12Lord, listen to all my tender cries.
Read my every tear, like liquid words that plead for your help.
I feel all alone at times, like a stranger to you,
passing through this life just like all those before me.
13Don’t let me die without restoring
joy and gladness to my soul.
May your frown over my failure
become a smile over my success.