Summary: This Psalm sums up the Christian faith and what God asks us to do.


Text: Ps. 88


1. We’ve seen some powerful Psalms of faith, praise, doubt turned into understanding and confidence

2. Tonite our focus is quite different----Ps. 88


vv. 1-2 he cries to God and asks Him to listen, to turn his ears to him

vv. 3-5 He feels close to death

vv 6-8 He believes God has put him there

vv. 10-12 rhetorical questions about God’s behavior

vv. 13-14 he cries out to God but feels rejected

vv. 15-18 he has always felt like God is against him

he feels alone, overwhelmed, in despair, helpless

his companion is darkness


A. He cries out to God while believing God is against him, 1,2,9

B. He cries out believing that God might help v. 2

C. Note the absence of:

Praise to God

God’s deeds---creation, deliverance, forgiveness, etc. cf. others

Hope expressed---“I will….you will… etc. as others have done

Closure---the psalm is left open, ending in despair, darkness,



A. We are a people who want closure in all that we say & do:

1. my sermons are attempts at neatly tied bundles of thought

with a conclusion and invitation

2. every story has an ending: the damsel is rescued, the mission

succeeds, they live happily ever after, the problem is solved,

B. we don’t do well with openness and unendingness

1. waiting to know the diagnosis, the outcome of surgery

2. waiting as illness lingers, suffering and pain

3. not knowing how it will turn out, not understanding why and


C. Yet the Bible is full of openness and lack of closure:

1. Ezra---ends with a list of men who had married foreign wives

2. Jonah—ends with God saying: “should I not be concerned

about that great city?” no mention of anything else

3. Habakkuk—ends with the prophet praying and waiting on God

4. Malachi—ends with the promise of Elijah, nothing more

5. Acts---ends with Paul under house arrest in Rome

6. No details are ever given regarding deaths of apostles, what

happens to any church mentioned, and more

D. this is the epitome of faith because it is faith expressed in the

face of not knowing how things will end, not understanding why

he is where he is in the situation, having no evidence of how God

will act and come to his side, in the deepest of despair &


1. Abraham knew only God’s promise: Gen. 12; 15:1-6

2. The Corinthians are told something similar: I Cor. 1:18-25

3. compare Mary to Zechariah in Lk. 1

4. consider the justness of God’s judgment on Israel in Heb. 4;

having the evidence of God’s power and failing to believe

E. the psalmist believes.

1. He cries out to God in the depths of despair, not knowing the

outcome, but he cries out to God

2. He turns to God in belief, even believing God has put him in

the condition he’s in.

3. His cries indicate knowledge of God

vv. 10-12 his rhetorical statements reveal a belief in the fact

that God wants his faithfulness, his power, his trustworthiness


F. Sometimes we let our understanding get in the way of faith

1. “I can’t/won’t believe unless I understand it all”


1. this psalm sums up the Christian life---“will you believe me, follow me, trust me, no matter what?”

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