August 27 2023
Today, Sunday August 27
A Cry of Desperation
A song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. To the Chief Musician. Set to ‘Mahalath Leannoth.’ A Contemplation of Heman the Ezrahite.
“O LORD, God of my salvation, I have cried out day and night before You. Let my prayer come before You; Incline Your ear to my cry. For my soul is full of troubles, And my life draws near to the grave. I am counted with those who go down to the pit; I am like a man who has no strength, 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. You have laid me in the lowest pit, In darkness, in the depths. Your wrath lies heavy upon me, And You have afflicted me with all Your waves. Selah
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; My eye wastes away because of affliction. LORD, I have called daily upon You; I have stretched out my hands to You. Will You work wonders for the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise You? Selah”
Psalm 88 is called, “A Maschil or Comtemplation of Heman”. Heman was probably a man that lived in the time of King David that was going through a time of trial and deep trouble. He is a man who is desperate, a man who is in despair and anguish of soul. He is crying out in desperation for help. What do you do when your world is falling apart? What do you do when you are down at the bottom? What do you do when nothing else seems to help and no one else can help you? What can you do? You can pray!
God has given every human being the gift of prayer. Prayer is our means of communicating with God. Prayer is calling out to God. Someone said that prayer is a sense of helplessness. The best prayers are when you are weak, when you are down and feel you have no strength, and everything appears to be against you! That’s when you can really pray!
I’ll never forget years ago when a man walked into my office off the street and began to tell me his story. His wife had just left him for another man. He had two precious children, and he was broken and had no idea what to do. After we talked awhile, I asked him to pray. He told me that he had no education, and that he could neither read nor write, and he had no idea how to pray. I told him just to tell God how he felt. We bowed our heads, and it was very quiet for a minute and then I heard what is believe was someone really praying for the first time in my life. I’ll never forget it! With tears running down his face, this dear man cried out three words with a very loud voice, “God, help me!” That’s all he said, but that was all he needed to say! If you are reading this and see me sometime, ask me what happened the next Sunday. It is an amazing story!
Remember this is a Psalm of instruction and we can learn at least four things from Heman’s experience. First, in verses 1-2, we learn that we should still come to the LORD by faith no matter what or how we are feeling! Three times we are told that Heman cried to the Lord, and three different Hebrew words are used for “cry”. In verse 1, it was "a cry for help in great distress". In verse 2, it was "a loud shout". And in verse 13, it was "a cry of anguish." He was fervent in his praying.
Heman believed in a God who could hear his prayers and do wonders (vv. 10, 12). He believed he had a God who loved him and was faithful to His people (v. 11). All of this is evidence of faith in Heman's heart, even though he spoke as though he was ready to give up. He prayed day and night (vv. 1, 9) and trusted that no obstacle would come between his prayers and the Lord (v. 2; Psalms 18:6; 22:24; 35:13; 66:20; 79:11). No matter how we feel and no matter how impossible our circumstances, we can always come to the Lord with our burdens.
Today, we also have access to the New Testament which assures us in 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you!” Jesus will never disappoint you when you truly put your faith and trust in Him!