Psalmody

Psalm 88

Psalm 88
A Song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. To the Chief Musician. Set to “Mahalath Leannoth.” A Contemplation of Heman the Ezrahite.
 1 O LORD, God of my salvation,
         I have cried out day and night before You.
 2 Let my prayer come before You;
         Incline Your ear to my cry.
 3 For my soul is full of troubles,
         And my life draws near to the grave.
 4 I am counted with those who go down to the pit;
         I am like a man who has no strength,
 5 Adrift among the dead,
         Like the slain who lie in the grave,
         Whom You remember no more,
         And who are cut off from Your hand.
 6 You have laid me in the lowest pit,
         In darkness, in the depths.
 7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
         And You have afflicted me with all Your waves.  Selah 
 8 You have put away my acquaintances far from me;
         You have made me an abomination to them;
         I am shut up, and I cannot get out;
 9 My eye wastes away because of affliction.
         LORD, I have called daily upon You;
         I have stretched out my hands to You.
 10 Will You work wonders for the dead?
         Shall the dead arise and praise You?  Selah 
 11 Shall Your loving-kindness be declared in the grave?
         Or Your faithfulness in the place of destruction?
 12 Shall Your wonders be known in the dark?
         And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
 13 But to You I have cried out, O LORD,
         And in the morning my prayer comes before You.
 14 LORD, why do You cast off my soul?
         Why do You hide Your face from me?
 15 I have been afflicted and ready to die from my youth;
         I suffer Your terrors;
         I am distraught.
 16 Your fierce wrath has gone over me;
         Your terrors have cut me off.
 17 They came around me all day long like water;
         They engulfed me altogether.
 18 Loved one and friend You have put far from me,
         And my acquaintances into darkness.

Ever feel like Heman?  It seems like everything dumps on you all at once.  Your aunt dies, your friend is diagnosed with cancer, and to top it all off you stub your toe…Some say, “When it rains it pours.”  Even the Scriptures point this out, all too clearly, with Job.  Poor Job, what did he do?  He was pious, and devout to Yahweh.  Yet he even expected such catastrophes to come upon him from Yahweh!!!  “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil,” says Job to his wife who said, “Curse God and die.”  We think this can’t be.  Yet God even says he creates evil, “I form the light, and make the darkness.  I make peace, and I make evil.”  What shall we do?!? Even God is against us.  Alas, we cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Has he forsaken us thus?  Are we utterly lost? NO!  Jesus became that for us!  He fulfilled Psalm 22 for us when he said, on the Cross, “Eloi, eloi, lema sabachthani!”  He has done it!  Now, flee to the Lord where he may be found!  The cross?  No, he was laid in the tomb.  In the tomb, then? No, he rose!  Then where?  Where, oh where, can I flee to his infinite mercy?  There is no need to find him, for he has found you in your Baptism.  He put His name upon you, as Luther says, “if anyone falls away from his Baptism let him return to it. As Christ, the mercy-seat, does not recede from us or forbid us to return to Him even though we sin, so all His treasures and gifts remain."  Just simply remember your baptism, the gifts are there, they are an unmovable rock.

“But, what of Psalm 88,” some might ask. What of it?  Continue to trust in the God of you Salvation.  Pray to him in the morning.  He shall hear you.  If you suffer more, that’s okay, and if it stops that’s okay too. “And You have afflicted me with all Your waves.  Selah.”  In Baptism, God afflicted us.  He killed us.  He put us into the death of Christ.  Yet we must, “Selah,” or contemplate this meaning.  Christ died therefore we died; Christ rose therefore we too shall rise!!!  So what if we are afflicted, and our conscience is bowed down, and are acquaintances are gone?  God is here, he promised to be in the waters when he put his name on you.  Now he can only repent or turn back from utterly destroying you!  Look at Israel…God wished to destroy them because of their wickedness on Mount Sinai (Exodus 32).  But Moses pointed to the act of bringing them out of Egypt…and this took place by going through the Red Sea.  You may die, but in Eternity if God still wishes to destroy you –if that is even possible- flee to your Baptism, your own Red Sea crossing.  God cannot condemn what he as won.

Baptism has set you apart…won, redeemed, and purchased you from death, the devil, and our sinful flesh.  Why should afflictions trouble us?  God will richly bless you!  Look at Job…he blessed Job two fold.  How much more richly will he bless us!  We may die, but what are earth’s treasures many?  We have one worth more than any that brought us salvation free lasting to eternity!!!  BAPTISM!!!

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