Psalms 88:1



Psalms 88, “A Song or Psalm for the sons of Korah, to the chief Musician upon Mahalath Leannoth, Maschil of Heman the Ezrahite. O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee: Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry; For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength: Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand. Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah. Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth. Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee. Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah. Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee. LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me? I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted. Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off. They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together. Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.”

Psalms 88 is a Psalm which in some ways is similar to some parts of the book of Job. The book of Job is about a Christian who faced great suffering. Job was a person who lost everything: his family, his possessions, his health, even in some ways his reputation and social status. And while he lay on the earth scrapping his sores he did the same thing that is done here in this verse of Psalms he prayed to God, reasoned with God, he talked with God and asked similar questions as these questions posed in Psalms 88:11-12, “Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?”

The answer to these questions is simple. If God keeps you alive then you are alive for a purpose. No matter how bad things get if you are a live then that is because God is still using you. The purpose of man is to praise God. The purpose of man is to shew forth God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness. The purpose of man is to declare the wonderful works of God. The purpose of man is to somehow be witness of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to others.  Therefore even if you suffer the loss of all things like Job did but do not lose your life you can be certain that God is still using you for His purposes.

         Psalms 88 is a Psalm about suffering. Sometimes suffering can last a very long time. Sometimes suffering can bring us near to the grave. One thing is for certain every one suffers in life. But it is also true that if you follow Jesus there will be things to suffer that you would otherwise not suffer. Every Christian has a cross to bear. Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

         Gods will is different for every believer. Some Christians will suffer a littler in life. And some Christians will suffer a great many things. To some degree this depends on a person’s willingness to suffer for God and how much a person desires to be involved in the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

         The more that you involved yourself in the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the more that you use your life as a witness to the truth the more opposition you will face from the forces of evil in this world.

         No matter the weight of your cross or the distance you must carry it is always worth it in the end. The rewards that you will earn in heaven are greater than you can possibly imagine.

         Psalms 89:1-4, “Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite. I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.”

         Psalms 89 is Psalms about the greatness of God. Sadly we live in a world in which you will hear very little about the greatness of God and a lot about the greatness of man. Oh yes when men remember their history they love to talk about and praise kings, and builders, and inventors and athletes and artists. But how little do they think about God and His greatness.

         In talking about the greatness of God these first few verses of Psalms 89 mention His mercy, His faithfulness, and His promise to establish the seed of David and his kingdom forever. It seems appropriate to mention what is often called the Davidic covenant when talking about the mercy and faithfulness ness of God.

         Jesus was from the lineage of King David. It is Jesus who will fulfill this promise of God to establish a kingdom forever.  One of the great important details about this future kingdom has to do with the mercy and faithfulness of God.

         Of course we know that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world and defeated death by rising from the grave. This in itself greatly reveals the mercy and the faithfulness of God.

         But this great promise of God about a future kingdom also reveals the great mercy and faithfulness of God. Despite the wickedness and failures of man God has great plans for mankind in the future. Plans that involve a glorious and eternal kingdom which is ruled by mercy and faithfulness.

Mercy is not a word that describes the kingdoms of this world. Injustice would be a much more accurate word.  But knowing that God is faithful and that God keeps His promises means that we who trust in Jesus can look forward to the day when Jesus, the king of kings, fulfills this promise made to establish His kingdom forever.

Psalms 89:5-7, “And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.”

These verses again mention the faithfulness of God. The faithfulness of God is something that is very important to understand. One way of seeing and realizing the faithfulness of God is by doing what these verses of Psalms do and comparing the faithfulness of God to men.

God is always faithful. God always keeps His promises. God always does what He says He is going to do. Men are not like that. What a difference between man and God.  Men often say one thing and do other. Or sometimes even if men make a promise and intend to keep it circumstances beyond their control prevent them from fulfilling their promises.

This does not happen with God. When God makes a promise God keeps that promise. And nothing can prevent God from fulfilling His promises not the sinfulness of man, not the will of man, not the forces of evil, nothing.

One of the greatest examples of the faithfulness of God is the preservation of God’s Word, the Bible. Because this is one of the greatest and most important examples of God’s faithfulness it is also one that is attacked more often than many others.

But History and archeology prove the preservation of God’s Word. There are literally thousands of ancient historical biblical texts that can be looked at which show that God’s Word has preserved word for word, letter for letter.

To be honest the topic of the preservation of God’s word is a very important topic because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

But you can just use human logic to realize that God preserved His word. After all it would not do much good for God to give His word and not preserve it. Why would God do that? How would that build up your faith in Him?

Of course there will always be arguments against the preservation of God’s Word. It mainly comes down too how a person interprets the evidence. For example those who are critical and unbelieving concerning the preservation of God’s word will for example say out of 1000 ancient document take the one they find which is a bad copy, a bad translation, or a badly preserved document in which verses missing in it and say see here is proof. But what do these critics do they ignore all the other evidence, all the other preserved documents.

The best way to understand the faithfulness of God though is not through the study of history or archeology but through the study of God’s word itself.

Psalms 89:8-13, “O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them. Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm. The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them. The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name. Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.”

These verses emphasis the strength of God another way of saying it is the power of God. In talking about the strength of God the Israelites are reminded of three places where God gave great military victories. The military victories in the Old Testament are meant to symbolize the spiritual victories that God gives us.

Philipians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

We should never doubt God’s great strength. God is all powerful. He can do anything. Jesus defeated sin, death, and the works of the devil when He died on the cross and rose from the grave. This is the greatest victory that we have through Christ. We should think about this victory and use it to encourage ourselves to have faith in God to give us the victory in all of the spiritual battles that we face in this life.

Psalms 89:14, “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.”

In describing the character of God and His kingdom some important details are given here. The first is justice and judgment. Justice and judgment have to do with the giving out of rewards for a person’s actions. Justice implies equality and fairness. Justice implies that a person is rewarded for the good that they do. Justice implies that restitution is made for wrongs done. Justice implies that when  a person is punished they are not punished too harshly and severely and the other hand that they are punished enough that the punishment fits the crime.

Judgment has to do with the discerning between what is right and what is wrong and then also the handing out of rewards for those actions.

This is why justice and judgment go together. There is nothing worse than judgment without justice. There is nothing worse than an unjust judge who either punishes too lightly or punishes too severely.

This is what is so great about Jesus. Jesus is the judge of all the earth. And the eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good. Jesus is a judge with justice and judgment.

The Bible describes the final judgment of mankind in Revelation 20:12, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

A written document is considered more accurate than a verbal account. And God is keeping written records of everything that a person does or says in their life. Remember God is also the eye witness. He sees everything that we do and say. Therefore we know the judgment of God will be fair and just and accurate down to the last detail.

This verse not only mentions justice and judgment but it also mentions mercy and truth. Mercy and truth are very important. Without the mercy of God the just judgment of God upon us would be guilty and we would be cast into hell. But because Jesus suffered and died on the cross for our sins we can look to Him for mercy and for forgiveness.

Therefore it is justice when God looks at a person and declares them righteous. Remember Jesus suffered the punishment and the wrath of God for those sins. There is no injustice involved when God declares a person righteous there is no condemnation.

If a person was to stand before a judge and say have mercy on me im sorry for what I have done and that judge was to grand them mercy and set them free that would be injustice. The victims and the victim’s family would cry out for restitution and for judgment. This is what makes the forgiveness of God so great and so powerful. Jesus can grant such mercy and forgiveness because He suffered in the place of the sinner. 

This is why even the greatest sinner can be forgiven of their sins. It is just as the old hymn says, Jesus paid it all. Because Jesus paid it all there is no need to feel guilty for past sins once you have turned to Christ.

Psalms 89:14, “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.”

The other two words mentioned here are mercy and truth. Mercy and truth go together To receive the mercy of God a person needs to be honest with God about their own sinfulness and repent of those sins. To receive the mercy of God a person needs to believe the truth about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who turn away from truth in effect turn away from mercy.

Psalms 89:15-18, “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted. For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.”

There are many benefits to following the Lord Jesus Christ. There are the blessings and joy of the Lord. God is love and God especially loves to bless His children. You may not be rich but you can be certain God will give you what you need to serve Him.

There is great joy in following Christ. There is the joy of having your sins forgiven. There is the joy of doing what is right. There is the joy of knowing you are accomplishing things that will last forever. There is the joy of intimate fellowship with Jesus through the Holy Ghost.

Another one of the great benefits of following the Lord is that God is going to exalt His children. To exalt means to promote, to elevate the status of a person.

Revelation 5:10, “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”

One a person enters into a relationship with God through the blood of Jesus Christ that person becomes a child of God, a joint heir with Christ, a king and a priest. This means that in the future kingdom of God there great responsibilities, great opportunities, and even great power given to that person.

Those who turn away from Christ are throwing away so much. They are throwing away an eternal destiny full of great and wonderful blessings and opportunities. If they cold only see how much God loves them. If they could only see the many great things God wants to do for them. If you have never turned from your sins to Jesus please do so today.


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