Spirit & Truth Jan 2006
This is kind of unique, the first time I have been invited to preach by my son.
Focus of our time is worship, being in the presence of God.
Meditation on a Psalm.
Love the Psalms, read one almost every day.
Today, Psalm 88 – a unique Psalm.
The only one that never resolves.
- Easter - what was it like on Saturday?
- Friday is the crisis, the time of loss and the death of hope;
- Sunday is the time of surprise, celebration and restoration of hope
- Saturday is the time of, confusion, the silence of God, and hopelessness.
- Have you ever had the Saturday feeling?
- How can we live our faith on Saturday?
- What is worship like when things are tough?
Psalm 88 is a Saturday Psalm.
Read the Psalm.
I. Expressions Of Anguish
- A jumble of feelings, hard to organize thoughts - so deep is his distress.
- notice the different types of anguish expressed.
!! A. Physical Anguish
Which verses describe physical anguish? 3, 4, 15,
“my life draws near the grave.”
“a man without strength.”
“close to death.”
We experience physical anguish when:
- pain doesn’t stop
- an illness may be terminal.
- physical ailments can be very distressing for us.
B. Emotional Anguish
Which verses describe emotional anguish? What type of emotional anguish?
1.Overwhelmed - verse 7, 8 – “you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.”
- someone hold you down under water - panicky.
-Do you ever feel as if you are drowning emotionally?
2.All Alone - verse 5, 8, 18.
“I am set apart with the dead.” “You have taken from me my closest friends.” “You have taken my companions and loved ones from me.”
- leprosy - lepers were shunned
- physical suffering which led to death,
- other forms of loneliness.
- Loneliness is "one of the most universal sources of human suffering."
- Sheldon Vanauken - wife died - "How could things go on when the world has come to an end? How could things - how could I - go on in this void? How could one person, not very big, leave an emptiness that was galaxy-wide?"
- what makes people lonely?
- getting older, bereavement, people don’t understand our suffering…
3.Depressed - verse 6, 18
“You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths.” “the darkness is my closest friend.”
- the deep valley experience.
- Nothing seems to matter in life.
- emotional darkness
C. Spiritual Anguish
1.It's God's Fault - 6, 7, 8, 14, 16, 18
- You understand the power, love and sovereignty of God and realize that if he wanted to he could remove the suffering.
2.God Doesn't Hear - 1,2, 13,14
- God has forgotten him or worse, deliberately rejected him.
!! D. Hopelessness vs. 18
- the Psalm ends in the valley. “the darkness is my closest friend.”
- Often when we experience trouble or speak to someone who is having trouble, we move quickly to reminding ourselves or them of Sunday. We say, "ah yes, but remember Sunday is coming?" Or we say, "Ah yes, but just think of Psalm 91 or Psalm 23." But sometimes it is Saturday. We cannot see "Sunday" or Psalm 23. We are in a state of hopelessness. It is not a place of unbelief, but of such deep darkness that at that moment, we cannot see the light. The writer echoes the experience of people who live on Saturday.
II. What Do We Do On Saturday?
What does the writer do in the valley?
Can we have faith on Saturday?
Can we worship on Saturday?
"Other men seek some hiding place where they may murmur against God, but the Psalmist comes into the Lord's presence and states his grievances."
Can you do it?
How can you do it?
The power of this Psalm?
- It is OK to be “on Saturday.”
Most of the time we want to move quickly from crisis to resolution. I read about a woman who experienced great tragedy in a fire. She was severely burned and her daughter was killed. She had been taught that you don't cry and so she moved from tragedy to apparent wellness quickly by busying her mind so that she would not think of the tragedy. Whenever she found herself thinking about it she would recite the states and their capitals in order to forget. That kind of a response is neither healthy nor realistic. There are times when we find ourselves living on Saturday.
- God knows about Saturday.
- The fact that this Psalm is in the Bible.
- it is OK to be honest before God
- Notice the Psalmist honesty.
- Crying out to God is always good.
- As the Psalmist does.