Scripture reading – Psalm 88; Psalm 92

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Two chapters in the Book of Psalms are the subject of our Scripture reading and devotional. Psalm 88 was a psalm by “Heman the Ezrahite” and an appeal to the LORD for mercy and grace amid 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”

Sleepless Nights (Psalm 88:1-2)

The author does not reveal the troubles and sorrows he faced in Psalm 88. Still, it was undoubtedly a time of great trial for the author who appealed to the LORD, calling upon the “LORD God of my salvation” (Psalm 88:1). The cry and prayer of the psalmist was “day and night” (Psalm 88:1), as he poured out his heart to the LORD (Psalm 88:2).

Oppression, Sorrow, and Loneliness (Psalm 88:3-9)

The author, Heman, thought he would die if the LORD did not relieve him of his burdens and troubles (Psalm 88:3-6). Adding to his grief, he felt he was oppressed by God’s anger (Psalm 88:7) and complained of loneliness. 

He moaned, “Thou 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” (Psalm 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” (Psalm 88:9). 

Shadowed by Death (Psalm 88:10-12)

He pled with the LORD to spare his life, for he reasoned that should he die, he would be unable to give testimony of the LORD’s character (Psalm 88:10). In the grave, he could not share the mercies of the LORD, or tell others of His faithfulness and love (Psalm 88:11-12).

Silence of Heaven (Psalm 88:13-18)

The reason for Heman’s trials and troubles was not disclosed, but his plea that he might be heard was insistent (Psalm 88:13). He felt abandoned by God and prayed, “Lord, why castest [reject; expel] thou off my soul? Why hidest thou thy face from me?” (Psalm 88:14) Exhausted from his afflictions and overwhelmed by his sorrows, he confessed, “I am afflicted [crushed] and ready to die from my youth up” (Psalm 88:15). Heman felt he had suffered his whole life, even from his youth. 

Closing thought: 

Psalm 88 concluded, leaving Heman in a dark place. He confessed he felt abandoned by those who loved him, and it seemed only darkness was his friend (Psalm 88:18). Although he was a spiritual leader and a musician in the LORD’s sanctuary, that did not exempt him from sorrow, physical suffering, and loneliness. Focusing on himself, it was a dark time for the psalmist. 

Someone reading today’s devotion may be in a similar place as Heman. I encourage you to bow your heart to the LORD and accept that He is sovereign. I pray that you will trust God and know He is faithful (Job 42:10, 17).

Psalm 92 – “A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath Day”

Five Good Things (Psalm 92:1-3)

We find the author of Psalm 92 rejoicing in the LORD on the Sabbath. The psalmist reflected on and rehearsed five “good” things. It is good “to give thanks” and “to sing praises” to the LORD (Psalm 92:1). To begin the day praising the LORD for his kindness and end the day reflecting on His faithfulness is a “good thing” (Psalm 92:2). Fifthly, it is good to worship the LORD in song and meditate upon Him with a “solemn [proper] sound” (Psalm 92:3).

The Works of the LORD (Psalm 92:4-6)

In Psalm 88, the author reflected on the seasons of life often filled with sorrows. In contrast, the author of Psalm 92 reminded his readers that there was cause for rejoicing in the LORD (Psalm 92:4-5). While believers are privileged to know the wondrous works of the LORD, the “brutish” and foolish cannot know or understand His ways (Psalm 92:6). 

Contrasts Between the Wicked and the Saints of God (Psalm 92:7-9)

The wicked appear to spring up and flourish like weeds in season (Psalm 92:7); however, the psalmist was reminded that the justice of God would demand their everlasting judgment (Psalm 92:7-9).

The Wicked will Perish, but the Righteous will Flourish (Psalm 92:10-15)

The author of Psalm 92 lived in anticipation of God’s loving favor. Like the “horn” that was a sign of strength among beasts, the psalmist was confident the LORD would strengthen him. Though the wicked prospered for a season, the psalmist foresaw they would suffer judgment, while the righteous would “flourish like the palm tree…[and] grow like a cedar in Lebanon” (Psalm 92:12, the palm flourishes in drought, and the cedar of Lebanon was a picture of strength). 

Closing thought:

Psalm 92 concluded with a beautiful promise for the righteous: “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]” (Psalm 92:14-15).

Psalm 92:14-15 promises all that a believer could ask. Contrasting with an evergreen tree that grows old but is strong and fruitful, the righteous can anticipate living to a ripe old age, enjoy health, and be productive (Psalm 92:14). What a great promise! Remember, however, that promise is only for the righteous whose faith and hope is in the LORD LORD and whose lives reflect His righteousness (Psalm 92:15).

Friend, you cannot be righteous in God’s sight without turning from your sin and trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior. I urge you to confess your sinful ways, believe that Christ died for your sins, and accept God’s offer of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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