Row, Row, Row Your Boat


“Row, Row, Row Your Boat”
Psalms 102:1


  • This Psalm (song) was apparently written by a person who like Job, was afflictednot for personal sin.
  • This Psalm is a prayer of an afflicted man, and maybe overwhelmed when all his human resources have been exhausted, he turns to God pouring out his complaint.
  • This is the prayer of Bro. Ron and many Christians like me.
  • I try everything I can to help myself and others finding out how tiresome it can be, when in reality what I should have done was ask God for help!
  • I remember the words of the late Dr. Curtis Hutson (a man of God that I surrendered to the ministry for the deaf under) as he preached at the Century II in Wichita, Ks. back in 1978. Dr Hutson said “I have rowed and rowed all my life trying to travel upstream in the waters of life and later learned that it is much easier to sit back and let God fill my sails and letting me float down the waters of life.”
  • In essence, this means that so many times we catch ourselves struggling and fighting and losing our temper, wasting our energy trying to get what we want when all we need to do is let God give us what we want in His time.
  • Remember the song… “Row, Row, Row your boat” as a kid?
  • When I think of that song now, what a crock! “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”
  • Life is everything but a dream. For a Christian, it’s a nightmare! Life here on earth is the worst we will ever know!
  • For an unsaved person, life on earth is the best they will ever know!

I. Cry for Help in Rough Waters

A) Hear me Lord

  • Psalm 102:1… Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.
  • Apparently, He has cried for help numerous times before and received no answer.
  • God always hears our cry for help. He always answers our cry for help.
  • His answer may come late, and it may not be the response we want.
  • When God doesn’t seem to answer us, we tend to think that he is hiding His face from us…2) Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.
  • Isn’t that much like many of us… “Give me an answer now!”

B) Crying in demand

  • Many times we get so caught up or overwhelmed with all that’s going on in the rapid waters of life that we fail to pray the right way.
  • Jesus gave us and the disciples an example of how to pray in Matthew 6:19-13, starting with praise to “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”
  • Look at the Psalmist here in Psalms 102…DEMANDING
  • “Hear my prayer”
  • “…let my cry come unto you”
  • “…don’t hide your face from me”
  • “…Incline thine ear (listen) to me”
  • “…in the day when I call answer me speedily” (When I say Jump, You should jump…NOW)
  • Do you think God should answer his demanding prayer?
  • Do we pray like that? God forbid!
  • This guy is rowing really hard demanding justice, demanding satisfaction, demanding a speedy response.

C) The “rapids” of water in life

  • We often have tenancies to start our prayers off with our “complaints” or problems as if God doesn’t know what they are.
  • Jesus gives us a perfect example in telling John His complaints against the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 1-3.
  • Jesus always started out first praising the church for what they were doing right. Then Jesus gave them his complaint He had against them by saying “I have somewhat against thee.”
  • God wants to hear our complaints… after being praised first.
  • Now we see the “rapids (rough water)” in the life of the Psalmist in …  Psalms 102:3…
  • “For my days are consumed like smoke,” You work all day and seem to accomplish nothing.
  • “…and my bones are burned as an hearth.” My body hurts from all the labor.
  • “4) My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.” My heart is so overwhelmed I can’t even recognize blessings (food) put before me.
  • “5) By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin.” My complaints have made me bitter.
  • “ 6) I am like a pelican of the wilderness:” A pelican eats fish from the water, there is no water or fish in the wilderness. What is meant here is that he is searching for things he can’t find.
  • “…I am like an owl of the desert.” There is nothing for an owl to eat in the desert. His thirst for anything is never quenched.
  •  “7) I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.” I look for answers from God and man and feel abandoned.
  • “ 8) Mine enemies reproach (defy, get angry at) me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.” People that do not like me or what I’m doing continue t find fault with me.
  • “ 9) For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping,” When a Jew sinned against God they would cover themselves with sack cloth and ashes and that ws a sign of humility, humbling themselves before God. Here the psalmist is saying that he has eaten a lot of “humble pie.” So much that it has caused weeping (severe sorrow).
  • “10) Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.” Because God was angry with the psalmist at something he did he has made him stoop to a low life.
  • “11) My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.” Withered grass is grass that was green and healthy that has died, lost its life, it’s beauty, it’s worthiness. The psalmist is saying that his days of productive and worthy life seem to be coming to an end. In other words… He is rowing and rowing through the waters of life going nowhere. 
  • Are you rowing and rowing through the waters of life, sometimes in clear smooth waters or are you mostly in the rapids (troubled water)?

II.  There is Comfort

A) In the Eternity of God

  • We should take comfort knowing that God is eternal. How is that comforting? Because Jesus (God in the flesh) promised us in John 14:1…Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2) In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
  • Where Christ Jesus (God in the flesh) is we will be also…for eternity because He is eternal!
  • Look at our text of Psalm 102:12…But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.
  • The psalmist says it again down in verse 27…But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.
  • Paul tells Timothy (His son in the ministry) in I Timothy 1:17…Now unto the King eternal (Christ Jesus), immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.
  • Paul is telling Timothy here that The King was Jesus and is God who can never die (Immortal), He is invisible, wise, to be honored and glorified, how long? FOREVER!

B) In the grace of God

  • There is comfort in the grace of God. If you are a child of God, you should be comforted knowing that God has grace on those who continue to struggle and succeed in being righteous (Doing the right thing).
  • In our text let us close with Psalm 102:13… Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.
  • I believe that the Psalmist is begging for God to have mercy upon Zion (God’s children) because they have experienced the rough water, continued to row and row, but all the time knowing that God is the source of life and blessings because He is all powerful, all knowing and God is ETERNAL and full of GRACE!

C) God answers the prayer of the righteous

  • When we are doing the best we can to be righteous (to do the right thing) God will hear our prayer our cry…Psalm 102:17…He will regard (look at) the prayer of the destitute (the naked, undesirable), and not despise their prayer.
  • When we have sinned and not asked forgiveness of that sin…we stand naked before God unclothed without the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
  • God answers our prayers when we call on Jesus name, asking for Him to be our mediator between us and God.
  • 18) This shall be written for the generation to come: We are that “generation to come”…and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD. 19) For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth; God is looking down upon mankind today (the earth) and do you know what He sees?
  • God sees us today as he saw in Psalm 14:2…The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3) They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
  • Look my dear deaf friends… we need to stop our rowing in down the river of life and sit back to let God work in our life by praying and asking Him to take the oars and row for us!
  • Our only chance at a successful life is His Grace, time after time.
  • Here is the grace of God…20) To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;
  • We are a prisoner to Satan and the power of sin that keeps us in a prison is our lack of self control that only Jesus offers.
  • We are “appointed to death” meaning that as a sinner we are going to die. Death is separation from God. Do you want to be separated from God?

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