“For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to the grave.”
This Psalm is entitled, “A Contemplation of Heman.” Heman was one of Israel’s worship leaders. As such, he was a man who was committed to the Lord, and to His service. Yet, he describes a time in his life when trials have mounted up against him. It seems as though there is no way out. While he does not explain the cause, he does describe the effects.
There seems to be at least three ingredients to this time of suffering. First, his trial includes some level of physical suffering; perhaps an illness. He speaks of being afflicted, having no strength, and being like those who lie in the grave. Second, his suffering is in some way connected to personal sin. He speaks of being distraught, and experiencing God’s wrath. Finally, in this condition, it seems his friends have deserted him, for he declares, “You have put away my acquaintances far from me.” Heman is not the only servant of God to go through great difficulties.
Paul wrote about facing trials on every side; he went on to say, “outside were troubles inside fears” (2Corinthians 7:5). Life is like that. Even when we are walking closely with the Lord, we will face things that will cause our souls to be filled with trouble. The question we must ask ourselves is, “Where do we turn when we are overwhelmed?” Heman chose to turn to the Lord. This Psalm is a prayer. In it, his eyes are fixed upon God as the only source of comfort, strength, and deliverance. He speaks of crying out to the Lord day and night, and of God inclining His ear to listen. When we are in the midst of a trial, it may seem that God is distant and uninvolved. The more we seek Him, the more we realize He is ever-present, and desires to bring us through our trial with a renewed understanding of His presence and power. If your soul is overwhelmed, run to the Lord, and like the Psalmist, cry out day and night, morning and evening, until he comes and sets you free.
Questions for Psalm 88
Some of your Bibles may have this Psalm titled “A Prayer for Help in a Time of Despondency”. Despondency-A sinking or dejection of spirits at the loss of hope; loss of courage at the failure of hope, or in deep affliction, or at the prospect of insurmountable difficulties
This is real life; we sometimes feel that we are in this exact place. God is real, the same yesterday, today and forever. We cannot explain why the Lord allows us to experience these kinds of feelings and circumstances. We do know they are temporary.
Remember what we are to dwell on:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Are you called? Trust in Him! Read the next Psalm.