A word from the author: My purpose for writing these daily devotions is to give a historical context, an explanation when necessary, and application of spiritual truths I often label as “closing thoughts.” I pray my effort proves to be a blessing to you and your families. With the heart of a shepherd, Pastor Travis D. Smith – HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com
Two chapters in the Book of Psalms are the subject of our Scripture reading and today’s devotional. Psalm 88 is a psalm by “Heman the Ezrahite,” and was an appeal to the LORD for mercy and grace, in the midst of sorrows and troubles. Psalm 92 is described in its title as “A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath Day.”
Psalm 88 – “A Psalm of Lamentation”
What troubles and sorrows the author was facing is not revealed in the verses of the psalm; however, it was certainly a time of great trial for the author who appealed to the LORD, calling upon the “God of my salvation” (88:1). The cry and prayer of the psalmist was “day and night” (88:1), as he poured out his heart to the LORD (88:2).
Heman felt as though he would die if the LORD did not relieve him of the burdens of his troubles (88:3-6). Adding to his grief, he felt he was oppressed by God’s anger (88:7), and complained of loneliness, writing, “8Thou hast put away mine acquaintance [friend; kindred spirit] far from me; Thou hast made me an abomination [detestable] unto them: I am shut up [restrained; confined], and I cannot come forth” (88:8). (Some who have had COVID, or been quarantined because of it, have faced this loneliness.)
Overcome with tears, the psalmist wrote, “I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee” (88:9). He pled with the LORD to spare his life, for should he die, he would be unable to give testimony of the LORD’S character (88:10). In the grave, he could not share the mercies of the LORD, or tell others of His faithfulness and love (88:11-12).
The reason for Heman’s trials, and troubles is not known, but his plea that he might be heard was insistent (88:13). He felt abandoned by God, and prayed, “14Lord, why castest [reject; expel] thou off my soul? Why hidest thou thy face from me?” (88:14) Exhausted from his afflictions (88:15), overwhelmed by his sorrows, he confessed, “15I am afflicted [crushed] and ready to die from my youth up” (88:15). He felt he had suffered his whole life, even from his youth. The psalm concludes finding Heman in a dark place. He confessed he felt abandoned by those who loved him, and it seemed as though only darkness was his friend (88:18).
Closing thought: If not yet, you will one day suffer disappointments in this earthly life. In fact, you may find yourself in a similar dark place where we found Heman. He was a spiritual leader, a musician in the LORD’S sanctuary, nevertheless, though he prayed his focus was on himself…his sorrows, physical sufferings, and loneliness.
A dark place indeed. It is in such an hour, that we are challenged to bow our hearts to the will of the LORD, and accept He is sovereign. May we be like Job of old, and trust God knowing he is faithful (Job 42:10, 17).
Psalm 92 – “A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath Day”
We find the author of Psalm 92 rejoicing in the LORD on the Sabbath. The psalmist rehearses five things that were good: It was good “to give thanks,” and good “to sing praises,” It was good to begin the day praising the LORD for his kindness, and end the day reflecting on His faithfulness (92:1-2). It was also good to worship the LORD in song, and meditate upon Him with a “solemn sound” (92:3).
We saw in Psalm 88 that there are seasons of life that are filled with sorrows, and the author of Psalm 92 reminds us that there is also a cause for rejoicing in the LORD (92:4-5). Believers are privileged to know what the “brutish” men of this world cannot know (92:6). While the wicked appear to spring up, and flourish like weeds, the psalmist reminds us the justice of God will demand their everlasting judgment (92:7-9).
The author of Psalm 92 anticipated God’s loving favor. Like the “horn” that was a sign of strength among beasts, the psalmist was confident the LORD would strengthen him. Although the wicked seemed to prosper, the psalmist foresaw they would suffer judgment, and the righteous would “flourish like the palm tree…[and] grow like a cedar in Lebanon” (92:12, the palm flourishes in drought, and the cedar of Lebanon was a picture of strength).
Psalm 92 concludes with an amazing promise to those who have lived righteous lives: “14They shall still bring forth fruit [be fruit bearers] in old age; They shall be fat [healthy; lit. full of sap] and flourishing [i.e. evergreen]; 15To shew that the Lord is upright [faithful]: He is my rock [security], and there is no unrighteousness in him [the LORD]” (92:14-15).
Closing thought: Psalm 92:14-15 promises all that a person could ask: to live to a ripe old age, and your life be a testimony of fruitfulness, healthy, and flourishing. What a great promise, but remember that promise is only for the righteous whose faith and hope is in the LORD. You cannot be righteous in the sight of God, without knowing Christ as Savior. Turn from your sinful ways, trust Christ as your Savior\Redeemer, and accept God’s offer of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith