My life is full of troubles,
and I am nearly dead.
They think I am on the way to my grave.
I am like a man with no strength.” Ps. 88:3-4, NCV
A Psalm Study
As I read Psalm 88, I suddenly realized the dark depths it took. It is bleak and grim. I believe it to be the only psalm there is without a reference to praise. Not a single “hallelujah” graces this portion of scripture.
But why? And why has God chosen to leave it where just anybody can read it? This psalm is a masterpiece, but it has been exclusively painted with hues of black. A word chosen by it’s writer is the word, “darkness.” Is it appropriate? Time after time, I’ve read this, looking for just a glimmer of light.
“Heman the Ezrahite, the apparent composer, was seriously depressed. Maybe he was also chronically ill. Or maybe, like many, he battled almost constantly against a relentless darkness. We really don’t know. But he said he had been this way since his youth (v. 15). He felt abandoned by God (v. 14), his beloved (v. 18), and companions (v. 8). He was desperate and his prayers seemed to be going unanswered (vv. 13-14). He was so overwhelmed that he felt close to death (vv. 3, 15).” –John Piper
So. Why has God included this in the canon of scripture? Obviously, writing psalms was probably a fashionable exercise, and we can safely conclude that hundreds of Psalms never made it into this book we call the Bible. Undoubtedly, most of these ‘rejects’ were sincere, and heart-felt.
Saturated with despair, and glazed with desperation we extend the human condition. We must conclude that this darkness is within our capability and experience. It could happen to you, or anyone! You are vulnerable.
The darkest psalm is really a ‘nightlight.’ It exists to give us hope. There is a broad range of conditions the human heart will encounter. Psalm 88 is within the realm of possibility for those who are of the Faith. We probably will need to expand our ideas of what is possible, and not what is accepted.
“…even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you” (Psalm 139:12).
- Bible Scriptures Relating to Difficult Economic Times (abiblereader.wordpress.com)
- The Mystery of His Face (brokenbelievers.com)
- At night … (benjamin-clark.com)