Scripture For Today: Psalm 56

“Thou Tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle; are they not in thy book?”
Psalm 56:8

There is an old tradition from the eastern cultures that has been practiced for many years, that of collecting tears in a bottle in times of grief and sorrow. The practice in ancient cultures was to collect the tears you shed in a bottle that would then be buried with your loved one as a sign of your love and devotion to them. In our own nation the wives of soldiers in the American Civil war would collect their tears in a bottle that was given to their husbands when they returned from battle to show them how much they had missed them and how they had thought of them and mourned for them while they were gone off to war. In Victorian times the tears would be collected and the bottle kept. The period of mourning for a loved one would end when the tears were dried up. Tear bottles are generally small in more recent times but it is not always so. Many believe that when the woman washed the feet of Jesus in Luke 7 with her tears it was her pouring out the tears from her tear bottle to use in washing His feet. What love and devotion is seen in the keeping of your tears.

“Rest in Jesus Christ, He remembers your tears even better than you because He has kept every one in His bottle and written every story in His book of love and devotion to you.”

David uses this tradition of expressing love and devotion to show us how much God loves us and is devoted to us. David in this Psalm recounts the trials and affliction he was going through. He begins with a cry for mercy because of the afflictions in his life. Verse eight reveals the depth of God’s love and devotion to us. Instead of David collecting his own tears to give to God, He tells us of how God has noticed and captured his tears. God here did not use the little bottle we know as a container for the tears of David but instead the idea is that God captured the tears of David in a wine skin that could hold many tears. Not only did God capture the tears but He recorded the events that brought about every tear that David had shed as he called out to God for mercy, comfort and help. The bottle that Davids tears are kept in, and the book that they are recorded in are not Davids record of his love and devotion to God, they are the record of God’s love and devotion to David; “…thy bottle….thy book.”, are the words of verse 8. God is so in love with and devoted to His people that he takes time to notice and collect in His infallible memory every tear shed by the objects of His love.

In your life you will shed many tears. Tears of sorrow, joy, mourning, disappointment, pain, and confusion. But all along the way Jesus is busy noting the events and capturing the tears you shed to remind Him of the need for mercy and compassion you have in your life. He mourns when you mourn, weeps when you weep, rejoices when you rejoice, hurts when you hurt, and remembers every instance so He can comfort you like no other. His bottle and His book are filled with your tears and the record of the events that caused them. As He sits on the throne at the right hand of the Father, He becomes your advocate and source for mercy as always before Him is the record and proof of your hurt and His love and devotion to you. Rest in Jesus Christ, He remembers your tears even better than you because He has kept every one in His bottle and written every story in His book of love and devotion to you. What a Savior, what a God, what a friend we have in Jesus!