Psalm 88

Psalm 88 is another for the sons of Korah.  The writer tells the story of a person who is struggling with life and is one of the saddest of psalms.  It seems like God is not listening when he prays.  He feels like he is already is Sheol – the place that the Jewish people believed folks went when they died.  He was live, but felt like he was dead.  He feels attacked and neglected by God.  Lots of expectations that God is not fulfilling.  Lots of hopes that seem to fall short.  But there is a lesson here for all of us when things aren’t going as we expect.

The writer is in distress, and rightfully takes that before God.  “O Lord, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry”!  Prayer is our best approach when life overwhelms us.  God is our only source of strength and comfort, so the psalmist is on the right path.  He is completely overwhelmed by the circumstances of life.  It happens to all of us at some point – we are consumed by the things happening in our patch.  “For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol”.

The psalmist feels helpless.  And he feels that God has done this too him.  “I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand”.  It’s desperate times and the writer accuses God of making his life miserable:

  • You have put me in the depths of the pit
  • Your wrath lies heavy upon me
  • you overwhelm me with all your waves
  • You have caused my companions to shun me
  • you have made me a horror to them

In the writer’s eyes, the situation is God’s doing.  He has a direct interaction with God accusing him of making life miserable.  But then comes the big lesson.

Every day I call upon you, O Lord; I spread out my hands to you…. But I, O Lord, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you”.  Here’s the example – the what we need to do when everything seems overwhelming.  We need to run to God.  The psalmist is frustrated with life and blaming God for his circumstances.  But even in the midst of that grief and anger, the writer knows that God is the answer to his situation.  He has all kinds of questions for God, but the important thing to learn here is that he didn’t run from God, he ran too God.  God is the only source of strength and comfort.  When things get bad, we need to pray and run toward God.  He’ll meet us!

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