Meditations on the Psalms #171

Psalm 88 Part 3

Expectations form a large part of how you manage suffering and painful experiences. False expectations can make terrible situations worse. If you believe that because you follow Jesus bad things won’t happen, then you don’t know what the Bible and Jesus actually say! If our expectations are aligned with reality, then it would help enormously as we face troubles. Often half the pain comes from those false expectations.

Dark times are the best place to learn about the grace of God. Notice how Heman prays – it was more an interrogation with sarcastic questions (V10-12). He wanted answers and he wasn’t getting any. He wasn’t controlling his heart or being respectful to God, He was accusing God with exaggerations; “all my life”, “You have never been there for me!” They say 80% of life happens between our ears. The temptation for us when in despair, anger, or grief, is to read everything in life through that moment. Heman was cross-examining God in a disrespectful way. His last statement he is saying, “God, darkness is a better friend than you are!”

So why is this prayer in the Bible? Both psalms 39 & 88 ends with this anger & despair towards God. The presence of this prayer in the Bible is a witness to God’s understanding. God knows how people speak (and think) when they are desperate. The fact that these prayers are in the Bible tells us a lot about the heart of God. He is saying it is OK to pray like that. A God of grace knows how we think and speak when we are desperate. God was the God of this man even when he wasn’t getting it right. God does not expect us to put on a happy face, say and do everything right, just because we are supposed to. God wants honesty. The presence of this prayer says He is a God of grace – that’s liberty. Heman was not saying things right, he was insulting God, he was saying things he shouldn’t be saying, BUT he was saying them to God. The outer darkness had (like Job) become inner darkness as well. TBC 

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