Vs. 1-11 describe feeling of suffering;
Vs. 12-22 speak of the hope that God would act on their behalf;
Vs. 23-28 acknowledge that only God can help.
Though the author of this Psalm is unidentified, the reference to “Zion” (Jerusalem) needing to be restored (verse 13) places the time frame at the end of the Babylonian Captivity (2 Chronicles 36). Psalm 102:25-27 are quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12 as an address to the “Son” of God (Hebrews 1:8). Therefore this reference in Psalm 102 was far-reaching toward “the generation to come” (verse 18), and the work of the eternal Son of God (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 2:1-21).
Verses 1-11: This begins with an urgent appeal for God to hear (verses 1-2) because: (verse 3) life is brief as smoke and fire; (verses 4-5) the heart is burdened and body aches; (verses 6-7) loneliness is like the “pelican,” “owl,” “sparrow” all out of their element, and keeps the Psalmist “awake;” enemies are active (verse 8); food doesn’t appeal (verse 9); the feeling of alienation from God (verses 10-11) is like a lengthening shadow.
Verses 12-22: God, however, is capable of helping because He: is timeless (verse 12); has reached the end of the 70 years of exile for Judah/Israel (verse 13; 2 Chronicles 36:15-23; Jeremiah 25:8-14); sees His people seeking to return to the Promised Land (verse 14); preserves His people (verses 15-17); will see that this return is preserved in Scripture for all time (verse 18; Ezra-Nehemiah; Haggai; Zechariah; Malachi); is merciful and forgiving (verses 19-22).
Verses 23-28: Our lives are in the hand of God (verses 23-24a), but God is above all time constraints (verses 24b-27), and eternity is for those who faithfully serve Him (verse 28; 1 Peter 1:23-25; 1 John 2:17).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.