Psalm 56 - Fussin’ at God - Is That Allowed?

Often when people think about prayer, they imagine a religious setting with stringed instruments playing softly and a devout person quietly speaking kind words of positivity.   This attitude does not match what we see in much of the Scriptures or in this particular section, Psalm 56.  My dad would often speak of times, when he did not understand what was happening in the circumstances of life for him or for someone he cared about, that he would “fuss at God” about it.  I would enjoy watching others around him respond to his statement.  There would be varied facial expressions ranging from obvious disagreement to complete bewilderment, while others seemed to think, “This poor old guy doesn’t really understand.”  However, I would posit that his understanding of prayer found great agreement with a couple minor Bible characters, like say, Moses & David.

When Moses was on the mountain and God declared that He would go down and destroy the people of Israel, Moses said, “Lord, why should Your anger burn against Your people, whom You brought out of Egypt …?”   Do you notice all the times he said “You?”  Moses is basically telling God that He is responsible for this group being where they are and can’t give up on them now.   I’m not necessarily recommending that you speak to the Lord like Moses did, but he’s not scolded for it and these statements do make it clear that God can handle it.

David, here in Psalm 56, complains boldly to the Lord, as he does in other Psalms about the circumstances around him.  I appreciate this particular Psalm because it is married nicely to a couple other traits in prayer that should accompany our own “fussin’.”   First, there is a high view of God.  David elevates God immediately above both himself and all those causing trouble.  He acknowledges the omniscience of the Lord knowing of all the activities; the trustworthiness of his God no matter how things appear; and gives praise for past deliverances.   This elevated view of God enables us to be able to bring our complaints to the One who can act correctly & powerfully.  A second accompanying trait in our complaining prayer is the rehearsal of speaking confident truth to ourselves.  We do not want to simply belly-ache, but choose to adjoin these complaints with things we know to be true about who God is, about His love and grace and mercy , and about his actions in history that we have seen (both in the Scriptures and in our own life).  This choice to focus on what is true about God can bring us to repeated statements like David’s, “In God, whose word I praise, In the Lord whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.  What can man do to me?”

We moan and groan to one another … not all that helpful.
We yell and scream at or about each other … not too productive.
How about we bring our burdens to the One who has great wisdom and the ability to act combined with a righteous love for those involved?

When we rest in Him, these “fuss at God” prayers can end with, “I will render thank offerings to You.” which can be said before we actually see the answer.

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