“PSALM 88: VERSE 19” (Psalm 88)

“PSALM 88: VERSE 19” (Psalm 88)
FBC Earlville 12-11-16 10:30 AM
Rev. J.B. Stopford, Pastor

TODAY’S FUNNY “A Born Funny”
A pastor asked his Bible class, “Why was Jesus born in Bethlehem?”
A student replied, “Because his mother was there.”

INTRODUCTION: We have come to Psalm 88, the last psalm written and ascribed to the “Sons of Korah”. Remember, these were men who fled the evils of their heritage, trusted the Lord, and walked faithfully with Him. These psalms are evidences of that walk – and encouragements to us who read them.
Look at verse 18 “the darkness is my closest friend.”
Illustration: In 1964, Paul Simon wrote a song over a period of 6 months, at the pace of one line a week. No one liked it; it could not get published, until…the movie, The Graduate. You know the first lines of “The Sound of Silence”:
“Hello darkness, my old friend I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain Still remains
Within the sound of silence.”

When darkness comes, and it often does, doesn’t it?, how will we know it has arrived? What does darkness look like, feel like? This psalm vividly tells us. See how many of these descriptions we all identify with. And with that, we all may find hope! PRAYER

Why at the root of a psalm of darkness do we find verses about trust and hope? Let’s look at them:
(1) It’s a prayer (v. 1a) “O Lord, the God Who saves me”!
(2) He has an active trust: “day and night” (v. 1b); “every day” (v. 9-note “spread hands”, like with Hezekiah spreading his hands out to God in trust and hope); “in the morning” (v. 13).
(3) Verses 10-12 could be looked as verses of hope, noting that he sees a contrast with those who have no hope. He has hope, those in darkness apparently don’t!
(4) In the midst of the uncertainties, he knows to pray and seek God’s face (v. 2) Do we?

In verses 3-7, he lists elements of God’s silence, the darkness the author vividly feels:
(1) Soul full of trouble – that’s all he can concentrate on, he cannot see God’s blessings anymore, even if they are there (v. 3a)
(2) He has a sense that he is dying – and perhaps for him, he thinks dying would be better than going through what he’s going through (v. 3b)
(3) The Pit (vs. 4-6) – perhaps this is where we get the phrase “life is the pits”! Seriously!
(4) He sees only God’s wrath, and can only sense being overwhelmed, as in drowning (v. 7). NOTE that “waves” is plural – he experiences this many times, not just ONE wave. See verses 16-17 the terrors like a flood!
He thinks he has no hope. Been there?

In the midst of this, he is oblivious to the fact that what he is facing, the Lord Jesus did, too. Like:
(1) Repulsion (v. 8) See Job 19:13,19; Isa. 53:3
(2) Rejection (v. 14a) See Ps. 22:1; John 1:12
(3) God hides His face (v. 14b) See: Job 13:24; Ps. 13:1; 27:9; 30:7; 44:24; Isa. 59:2; 64:7.
BUT God also hides His face from the sins of the one who has trusted His Son! See Ps. 51:9 “Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.”
(4) Darkness is his closest friend (v. 18) See also John 1:5 – this was Jesus place of operation: “the Light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not understand it.” The song: “He could have called 10,000 angels, but He died alone.”

But look at the sermon title: PSALM 88: VERSE 19. “Ah, pastor, there IS no verse 19”
But IF there were, what has God said in this psalm? “I have written this psalm to show you that I know the empty hearts of my children. Trust Me, because I really do all things well.” That’s your pastor’s thought.
But GOD’S thought comes in Psalm 89:1-2! “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever!”
There is hope in darkness. There is God’s faithfulness even in despair. Trust & rest in Him!
Close in prayer

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