Psalm 88 A Psalm of the Sons of Korah
1 O lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:
2 Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;
3 For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
The writer seems like he’s really having a bad day. He says he’s been crying night and day before the Lord. I like the persistence in his prayer life! Tell me, are you that persistent? When you have something bothering you and you want to take it to the Lord do you keep asking? Do you stay on it until you feel the Lord say something to you? There are some that say pray once and that’s enough. I’m not one of those. I think the Lord appreciates it when we keep coming to him and asking him to hear our prayers. He appreciates your persistence if He knows we’re asking in faith.. If we didn’t believe that He’d answer then we just give up. So when you are praying about something, don’t give up.
Then he says his soul is full of troubles. These troubles were so bad that he actually thought he was going to die. He feels like he’s getting closer and closer to the grave. He pleads with God, that God would incline His ear to hear his cry. We’ve talked about God inclining to our prayers several times, and I love that picture in my mind. I can see God leaning down to hear our prayer. That’s the kind of God I serve
4 I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:
5 Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.
6 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.
7 Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.
He is a man with no strength. Many times that’s exactly where God wants us. He doesn’t want us to rely on our own strength. We talked about this extensively a little while ago. We need to trust in God’s strength and not our own. The writer feels like he’s counted with the dead now. He says he’s free among the dead and he thinks God doesn’t remember them anymore. He feels like this is God’s wrath that’s lying upon him. I don’t believe it’s God’s wrath when were in the middle of trials. I believe God may be testing our faith, seeing how we respond to the trials of life. The writer feels like God has afflicted him and God is against him.
I suppose there are times that we all feel that God is fighting against us. Maybe we’ve entered into a battle that’s very difficult for us and we don’t see any help coming anywhere. We may wonder who is to blame. I don’t think God puts those trials on us but I think he does allow them to happen and then he uses them to build up our faith, or perhaps work on some character flaw we have. If we would just walk through those trials instead of seeking an exit we would be much stronger.
8 Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.
9 Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: Lord, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.
10 Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.
11 Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?
12 Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
Even his friends have abandoned him at this point. They aren’t coming near him to help. It’s always difficult when we get into a situation where nobody seems to care. You don’t get phone calls from friends. You don’t see your friends because you’ve shut yourself up. You wonder if anybody really cares. That could cause you to mourn over your situation. I know I went couple weeks without the pastor calling because he’s been busy and I wondered why he hadn’t called and visited. I have had very few visitors during my stay at home with cancer. I feel abandoned sometimes. I know God is here but sometimes you need that personal interaction. I miss that
The writer says God, I’ve called upon you everyday. Every day, Lord, and you haven’t answered. Then he asks God a number of interesting questions. Will you show your wonders to the dead? Are they going to praise you? Will your loving kindness be talked about in the grave or thy faithfulness? Will your wonders be known in the dark and will your righteousness be known in a forgetful place? I think the answer to all of these is no! None of these things happen to those that are dead. These are things that we have to be thankful for while we are still alive!
13 But unto thee have I cried, O Lord; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.
14 Lord, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?
15 I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.
16 Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.
17 They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.
18 Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.
He keeps going on about how he feels God has abandoned him. He says “I cried in the morning God. Why have you cast off my soul? Why are you hiding your face from me?” He says he’s ready to die. He’s suffering and God’s wrath goes over him and His terrors have cut him off. This is one time where there is no praise in the psalm – very unusual. They usually begin or end with praise. This one has neither. It must have been a terrible time in this writer’s life if they wouldn’t take the time to praise the Lord in the middle of a struggle. So we see even the writers of the Psalms have it bad sometimes. These psalms were written by the worship leaders of the temple, and it is a strange thing that no praise was coming this time.
The enemy comes around daily and they are like water. Water seeps in no matter where you and it is impossible to hold back water – it will eventually find its way through. When you look at the Grand Canyon you realize that it was formed by the Colorado River in some form or fashion. It’s amazing how water can cut through those rocks. We know that water is a powerful force. He wants again to mention that his friends and acquaintances are far from him and he’s alone. I wish I was there to tell him that God hears every word! He just needs to praise him in the middle of his trial because trials are ordained by God to draw you closer to Him, not father away. So be prepared for whatever God has for you and don’t question if it’s a bad thing. God knows what He’s doing.