Summary: This Psalm is like no other chapter in all the Bible. It is a Song of Sorrow. It is a Psalm of Sadness. It is, without a doubt, the darkness and sadness of all the Psalms. But let us remember that the darkest hour is just before dawn, and so, when tr
WHEN IT DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER--PSALM 88
This is the eleventh of the thirteen “Maschill” Psalms. In an earlier lesson I showed that “Maschill” means instruction. This is thirteenth of the Instruction Psalms. This Psalm is like no other chapter in all the Bible. It is a Song of Sorrow. It is a Psalm of Sadness. It is, without a doubt, the darkness and sadness of all the Psalms. When we read the Psalms we notice that many Psalms speak of sadness but end with singing. Many Psalms begin with gloom and end with gladness, sorrow and shouting, tears and triumph. This Psalm however begins with distress and then the gloom increases as it proceeds. Notice that the last word is darkness. It is one wail of sorrow from beginning to end. It is the only Psalm which we see a poured out heart does not receive relief and consolation.
There is no indication of the time and writer of this Psalm. There are many ideas as to who “Heman the Ezehite” found in the title might be. Most believe that he is the penman of this Psalm. In the Old Testament we have reference to two “Hemans”. The first is mentioned in I Kings 4:31 and in I Chronicles 2:6. He was a brother of Ethan, and one of the five sons of Zerah, the sons of Judah. This Heman was known for his great wisdom. The there was a “Heman” in David’s day, who was the grandson of Samuel, the Prophet. He was called “the singer” and was one of the three chief musicians during David’s reign ( I Chronicles 15:17-19). In all probability it was the latter because he was associated with music, however, either of the two could have been the penman of this Psalm. Whoever wrote this Psalm must have been a man of Deep experience. He knew what it was like to face trials, troubles and tribulation alone.
This is a Psalm that would fall in the category of “Strong Meat” as the Apostle Paul said it. It is intended for those who have grown in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord. It is for the spiritually mature.
I. THE PSALMIST CRY -- VS. 1-3, 13
A. The Purpose for his Prayer
1. This is the cry of distress and yet his Distresss gives him a Desire to pray.
2. Evil is transformed into good when it drives us to prayer.
3. A old preacher said one time, “The Devil has driven me to my knees and he will regret that.”
B. The Procedure of his Prayer
1. It was Personal -- “God of my Salvation.”
2. It was Passionate -- “I have cried”
3. It was Prolonged -- “Day and Night”
C. The Persistance of his Prayer
1. There is a tone of confidence in his prayer. As bad as things are with him, he is not without hope.
2. Evidently he had experienced the truth of Hebrews 11:6, which says, “....for he that cometh to God must
believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
3. Since his affliction would not let him rest, he took the restless nights as an opportunity to spend that time in
4. Jesus said in Luke 18:1 “...that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”
5. Paul admonishes the Thessalonians to, “Pray without ceasing.” I Thessalonians 5:17
6. Time is definitely not wasted when used in seeking the Lord in prayer.
D. The Prospect of his Prayer - vs. 2
1. The Psalmist’s appeal was intended to reach the ear and move the heart of God.
2. He was praying expecting an answer.
3. Why even pray if you do not expect an answer?
a. This could be the very reason we do not get our answer!!!
b. How many times to we pray in routine, just speaking words without really having the faith it takes to receive an answer.
E. The Pleading in his Prayer - vs. 3
1. In this verse he pleads the urgency of his need.
2. There is no trouble so severe as that of the soul.
3. The most trying anquish is not that of the body, but that of the spirit.
a. He has no Peace
b. He has no Joy
c. He has no Song in his heart.
d. I believe a child of God can weather any storm as long as the God of peace is real in their life.
4. Notice that his troubles were many because his soul, was full of troubles.
F. The Patience of his Prayers - vs. 13
1. While there is life, there is hope. The Psalmist is not only consistant, but also persistant in his prayer.