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Psalm 88 (NKJV)


Psalm 88 (NKJV)

The comments provided are not the only way to interpret the verses in this chapter. They are only my reaction to the text, and you will have your own perspectives, positions, and reactions.



O Lord, God of my salvation,
I have cried out day and night before You.
2 Let my prayer come before You;
Incline Your ear to my cry.

God is very personal — the God of my salvation.
God seems to be silent (vs. 14). Sometimes He is silent to build faith and trust. Calls out to God because of the trials encountered (vs. 3.)

3 For my soul is full of troubles,
And my life draws near to the grave.
4 I am counted with those who go down to the pit;
I am like a man who has no strength,
5 Adrift among the dead,
Like the slain who lie in the grave,
Whom You remember no more,
And who are cut off from Your hand.

The reality of Righteousness by Faith is displayed and dramatized in this Psalm by clinging and depending on God through all circumstances!
Note the metaphors.
Mass murder in the 1930s and ’40s in Europe.
This is the prayer of a person who feels forsaken, deserted, abandoned with no hope of any future life or joy. Cut asunder, never to be joined with God again.

6 You have laid me in the lowest pit,
In darkness, in the depths.
7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
And You have afflicted me with all Your waves.

Christ was made to be sin. He was abandoned — cut asunder. God’s wrath is seen as His giving us up to our own choices — ceases to implore (Rom 1:24, 26, 28.)


Pause and meditate on this.

8 You have put away my acquaintances far from me;
You have made me an abomination to them;
I am shut up, and I cannot get out;
9 My eye wastes away because of affliction.

All alone, abandoned, no emotional support!
Job 13:4, 5 worse than phony friends! Do I blame God for my problems — my situation, even my own choices?

Lord, I have called daily upon You;
I have stretched out my hands to You.
10 Will You work wonders for the dead?
Shall the dead arise and praise You?

God, are you still listening, is there really a resurrection of the dead, is there really a future hope available, or is eternity just a fable?



Pause and meditate on this.

11 Shall Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave?
Or Your faithfulness in the place of destruction?
12 Shall Your wonders be known in the dark?
And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

Do those in the grave hear or understand God’s creative deeds, character, or righteousness? Obviously not, so the prayer continues.


13 But to You I have cried out, O Lord,
And in the morning, my prayer comes before You.

Still believes that God exists and that He hears these words, unlike individuals in the grave. Continues to depend upon God though the resolution cannot be seen or experienced.

14 Lord, why do You cast off my soul?
Why do You hide Your face from me?
15 I have been afflicted and ready to die from my youth;
I suffer Your terrors;
I am distraught.

Still no answer from God. Why is God silent? Is He hiding, or is He right beside me?
Anguish for being forsaken, given up, the mental torture Christ experienced on the cross.

16 Your fierce wrath has gone over me;
Your terrors have cut me off.
17 They came around me all day long like water;
They engulfed me altogether.
18 Loved one and friend You have put far from me,
And my acquaintances into darkness.

The terror of eternal separation from God is drowning this person’s soul, mind, conscience.
Even my family members have abandoned me.
The abrupt ending of this Psalm, without resolution, emphasizes the hopeless abandonment.

General Comment on Psalm 88

Suppose those who call upon God sometimes feel like this but still maintain their trust and faith. How much more will the wicked feel and internalize these thoughts and sentiments with no relationship or trust in God? At the end of time, the wicked have no trust, hope, belief, or faith to carry them through the worst period of all human history (Daniel 12:1).

This is the end of Psalm 88, but we should never stop believing in God’s mercy and forgiveness.
Never stop reading when you are depressed. Read on!

Psalm 89 (NKJV)




I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.
2 For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever;
Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.

Zeph 3:17 God will also sing! What will that sound like?
Share the Good News of Righteousness by Faith!
God can be trusted; He is faithful, and His trustworthiness is established in heaven.


3 “I have made a covenant with My chosen,
I have sworn to My servant David:
4 ‘Your seed I will establish forever,
And build up your throne to all generations.’”

God finally speaks.
Yes, Eternity is already established — no end — forever!


Pause and meditate on this.

5 And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints.
6 For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the Lord?
7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints,
And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.
8 O Lord God of hosts,
Who is mighty like You, O Lord?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.

None in all the universe can compare to God. None in The Great Assembly can be compared to the Lord.
Ps 22:25
Ps 35:18
Ps 40:9, 10
Job 1:6



Dennis Hollingsead works in the Office of Development at Andrews University.

Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash


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