An Astonishing Image of God’s Unfathomable Love

Posted on January 16, 2020


By David Ettinger

David’s Humiliation
The King-elect David was in desperate need of comfort. He was fleeing from the current King of Israel, Saul, who was bent on destroying him. Then the fugitive miscalculated, figuring he could find security among Israel’s fiercest enemies, the Philistines.

There was no way the heathens were going to tolerate the hero of the Hebrews. Therefore, David feigned being a madman. He allowed his saliva to run down his beard and began clawing the doors of the city gate of Gath. The performance worked and David escaped (1 Samuel 21:15).


But the damage was done. He had been anointed as Israel’s next king, but instead found himself humiliated in the face of his foes. He had hit rock bottom. He was tired, frightened, and suffering from a serious case of low self-esteem.

David’s Cry for Mercy
He commemorated his torment in Psalm 56, and his words are poignant. He pleaded with God: “Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me … All day long they distort my words; all their thoughts are against me for evil. … They attack, they lurk, they watch my steps, as they have waited to take my life” (vv. 1, 5-6).

Then, from the depths of his soul, he cried out to God for mercy, his request filled with longing and anguish: “You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” (v. 8).

David’s relationship with God was so close that whenever he requested something of Him, he knew it was in alignment with the Lord’s character and attributes. In other words, whenever David made a request of God, it is as if he were saying: “Lord, if You find delight in me, You WILL accomplish this act of unfathomable love I am requesting of You.”

The Image of God’s Unfathomable Love
Ultimately, David was asking for protection and to be rescued from his life-threatening crises. But more than that, David was asking God to peer deep into his heart and soul and take note of the torment occupying it.

The key phrase here is, “put my tears in Your bottle.” The image David is invoking is of God gently wiping away the tears staining David’s cheeks, collecting them in the palm of His hand, and then meticulously placing them in a wineskin, which is what the Hebrew word for “bottle” means.


David was asking his Heavenly Father to remember his suffering by not just wiping his tears dry, but by storing them. The symbolism is one of astonishing intimacy. David was saying: “Lord, I just don’t want You to take away my pain, but I want to know that You are feeling it as well. I need to know, Lord God, that You understand what I am going through and that You can empathize with me. I need to know, Lord, that You love me inside and out.”

YOUR Tears
David could only make such a request knowing that the God who created Heaven and Earth is capable of fulfilling it. Indeed He is, evidenced by the fact that he allowed this amazing image to occupy a place in His Holy Word.

And guess what? What was granted to David is also granted to all God’s children – YOU included. Yes, it’s true. In your lowest and most unbearable moments, God sees every tear you shed and refuses to let them fall to the ground unattended. Far from it! He collects each one and places it in the wineskin which has your name on it, His way of saying: “Beloved, I DO know your pain, and I AM experiencing it with you. You are NOT alone. I AM with you in the midst of your heartbreak.”

Of course, the tear-filled wineskin is but an image, but the truth it stands for IS real. Your tears – every one of them shed in distress and despair – really do matter to God, and none of them is ignored. Such a truth! Such a God!

“Put my tears in Your bottle” – an astonishing image of God’s unfathomable love. Cling to it when you feel overwhelmed, downcast, and are ready to surrender. God is there with you, wiping away every tear that runs down your face!