Aren’t you grateful for Psalm 89, “I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever” (89:1)? Doesn’t it bring rejoicing to your heart for the abundance of provision and affection from God to you? And then…before Psalm 89, God-breathed our other cry, “O LORD, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you.”
Is God in Christ in the habit of throwing a wet blanket on our happiness, or is He a realist about life on earth? No, the Psalms model both praises in our blessed times and prayer in our losses and crosses. We have both.
Today our walk through the Psalms brings us to Psalm 88. Most laments end with trust and hope. Not Psalm 88; it is the only Song that ends in darkness, “darkness is my closest friend” (NIV). What are we to make of this deary but inspired Psalm from God? Answer: There are thanksgiving, joy-bringing, faith-acting rocks of stability in the midst of fierce waves.
1. We get to cry out to the real, one God of the universe. He is “LORD, God of our salvation.” He is the great “I AM”—self existent Creator, Redeemer, Deliverer, constant in steadfast love, soon-coming Judge, and guarantor of an inheritance for all who follow His Son, Jesus Christ. Spend a few minutes dwelling on these ultimate, life-shaping realities to start your next prayer.
2. The Psalm’s existence reminds us we can and should share our deepest pain with Him and deeply grieve in the darkness (2-3, 13-14). Grief can be brutally honest.
3. It teaches us about the nature and character of God. To #1, add from the Song He is a God of wonders, faithfulness, even wrath toward evil. Is our God too small?
4. It demonstrates and calls us to faith (trust) alone in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and not friends and earth-bound stuff or institutions (17-18). All Scripture points to Christ as the fulfillment of the promises of God (2 Corinthians 1:20). Jesus is now our faithful High Priest, interceding for us daily (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 4:16-18). And amazingly, the Spirit helps us in prayer (Romans 8:26)!
Psalm 88 destroys the idols of mere positive thinking and the intoxication of our minds, bodies, and souls with hollow words, substances, experiences, and things. We aren’t in heaven yet but soon will be. We cling to the assurance of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14), to the God-involvement in our salvation, and life from eternity to eternity (Romans 8:28-30; Philippians 1:6).
I took in the soccer game of my youngest grandson last Saturday in middle Georgia. It was such a lovely day, including the sideline, boisterous, uninvited coaches called parents and grandparents…Do you know which team won? Answer: the team with an engaged, competent, affirming coach—and focused kids who kept their eyes on the ball.
On the way to the praises and joys of Psalm 89, don’t take your eye off the fundamentals in Psalm 88.