Daily Archives: March 13, 2023

Deuteronomy 15-18; Acts27; Psalm 88

If you Google, “The saddest psalm,” people will unanimously point to Psalm 88. And, both a quick and careful reading will bring hearty agreement.

For my soul is full of troubles,
    and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
    I am a man who has no strength,
like one set loose among the dead,
    like those whom you remember no more,
    for they are cut off from your hand.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
    and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah
You have caused my companions to shun me;
    you have made me a horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
    my eye grows dim through sorrow.
14 O Lord, why do you cast my soul away?
    Why do you hide your face from me?
15 Afflicted and close to death from my youth up,
    I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
16 Your wrath has swept over me;
    your dreadful assaults destroy me.
17 They surround me like a flood all day long;
    they close in on me together.

Psalm 88 ESV (excerpts)

Whether these words accurately depict the psalmist’s life or if his pen caught him in a moment of depressive exaggeration, this was his perspective at that time. And, God saw fit to include this psalm in the canon. A psalm without hope. He cries out to God. He is overwhelmed with grief and pain and isolation.

What can I learn from this?

  • God cares about me even when it seems He does not (even this sorrow-filled psalm mattered to Him)
  • I can come to Him in the depth of my pain and He will meet me there
  • Response is not always evident, not always when or what we expect
  • This world brings heartache
  • As long as I have breath, I can praise Him

Jumping to the book of Acts, Paul might not have had such a lengthy list of grievances, but he also found himself crying out to God when life backed him into a corner.

23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.

Acts 27:23-25 ESV

Paul knew the truth that the psalmist seemed to crave. God was there with him in the midst of the storm. He clung to God’s promises no matter how impossible the circumstances blew against them. I pray that I can walk in that same faith as God clearly reveals throughout all of Scripture that He has a careful eye on those in the midst of a trial, whether it lasts two weeks or a lifetime.

“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.

Deuteronomy 15:7-8 ESV

Way back when God gave the law to Moses, He allowed for hardship and expected people to rally around the poor and needy. And, when doubts drifted to the surface of their minds, God reminded them. They were once slaves. They once had nothing. They once had no freedom to live or worship as they desired. And God saw them.

“Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.

Deuteronomy 16:1 ESV

Time after time, festival after festival, God called them to remember. If life was not a challenge we would not need reminders. God knows. God sees. God hears. I pray that even if my prayers borrow a phrase or two from Psalm 88 now and then, I will at the end of it rest in His sovereignty and goodness.

Lord God, thank you that you are by my side on the darkest night and the most beautiful sunrise. Thank you that you forgive and love me fresh each morning. May my life pour out praise to you each and every day that you choose to extend it. In Jesus name, amen.


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