This psalm falls in the category of what scholars call a "group laments." It was probably used in the temple liturgy, and takes an honest look, as the psalms do, at the human condition. It is a song that reflects (like Isaiah 40:6-8) on the shortness and misery of human life. Like many of the laments, there is the recognition that God's judgment ("anger/wrath") comes not from God's desire to hurt us, but as a result of sins we have committed and tried to keep secret.
It is certainly not one of the songs we would want to sing in this season. If we focus only on the anger/wrath portion of the psalm, as the church has sadly done too often, it would not be something we would inscribe on a Christmas card.
So, we need to remember that at the center of this psalm is not our sin, nor the judgment that either God (or we) might make in light of such deeds. No, at the center of this psalm, as in every other psalm, is God. And what the writers of these diverse songs want us to know, is that no matter the circumstances, no matter the pain, no matter the darkness, no matter the sense of being overwhelmed from without and within - there is always One to address: with anger, with sorrow, with swearing, with silence.
One who is in the darkness with us, not a part of it,
but bringing light;
One who is in the pain with us,
and taking it on;
One who is standing with us in our grief,
and wiping every tear away.
One who is willing to listen to every word
we have to say,
every painful, hurtful, profane word
so that God's Word might speak to us.
In these moments, may we understand your willingness to listen to everything we have to say to you, O God, and may we feel your love which is always ours. Amen.
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