In Ps 119:136, the Psalmist cried because “they keep not thy law”. He said, “rivers of waters run down mine eyes”. The Psalmist wasn’t smug in his attitude. He was keeping the law. They weren’t. And yet, he wept for them. This attitude is so different than the attitude of the righteous today. It seems that we are angry and critical, rather than sad.
Weep for those in authority
I hear criticisms about men and women in our government. He’s stupid. She’s crazy. He’s senile. She’s wicked. He’s corrupt. She’s incompetent. And on and on go the criticisms. However, how many have wept over these men and women like the Psalmist wept? Rivers of waters ran down his yes.
Consider Samuel and Saul. Saul disobeyed the Lord in 1 Sam 13:9-13. So, Samuel told him that his kingdom would not continue, 1 Sam 13:14. Then in 1 Sam 15, Samuel told Saul that the Lord commanded him to completely destroy the Amalekites and all of their children and livestock. Again Saul disobeyed the Lord. When the Lord told Samuel that Saul had disobeyed, “he cried unto the Lord all night,” 1 Sam 15:11. Even after the Lord rejected Saul, Samuel “mourned for Saul,” 1 Sam 15:35, until the Lord stopped him, 1 Sam 16:1.
Weep for your country
I hear criticisms about the condition of our country. And our country is in bad shape. You’ve heard people say, “God will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah if he doesn’t judge America”. Christians often make statements like that with a smug attitude, like they want to see God judge America. It’s like they’re just waiting for the downfall. Tomorrow is Veterans Day. There are many veterans who risked their lives in defense of our country. And I suppose that many of them are more likely to weep than condemn.
By comparison, consider the shape Jerusalem was in during the earthly ministry of Jesus. The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem were terrible, Matt 23. Look what Jesus said to Jerusalem in Lk 13:34-35. And yet, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass, “he beheld the city, and wept over it,” Lk 19:41. Notice what he said in Lk 19:42-44. Yet, he wasn’t smug in his condemnation of the city. He wept over it. Heb 5:8 says that he “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears”. That sounds like rivers of waters flowed from his eyes.
Weep for Christians fallen in sin
I have heard criticisms about Christians caught in sin. And a Christian caught in sin that can damage a congregation is a terrible testimony. A perfect example of such a one is the young man committing fornication with his father’s wife in 1 Cor 5. Paul was very stern in telling them to put this man out of the church and to turn him over to Satan. Nevertheless, in 2 Cor 2:1-6 we see what his attitude was when he wrote them. He said, “I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you”. You can just imagine the rivers of waters flowing from his eyes on their behalf.
When the princes came to Ezra and told him that the priests and Levites had mingled themselves with the people of the land by marrying them, Ezra 9:1-2, he prayed v.5-15. Ezra 10:1 says that he prayed and confessed, “weeping and casting himself down before the house of God,” Ezra 10:1.
Should we not be more like the Psalmist, and Samuel, and Jesus, and Paul, and Ezra in this current hour? We are to pray for those in authority, 1 Tim 2:1-3. Would not our prayers be more effectual with fervency and tears? Next time you are inclined to point your finger at someone who is not keeping the word of God, consider whether you have cried to God on their behalf before you do. A good companion sermon to this is Pray For Others.