The sorrowful day and night of the Man of Sorrows

This is one of the saddest psalms in the Psalter. It is full of sorrow and, as such, many of its verses are applicable to the Man of Sorrows, who was acquainted with grief.

There is no sense of God’s presence to the soul of the plaintiff. Darkness surrounded him, and invaded him, and it was as if the grave itself was his abode. One of the grieving and solitary aspects of his experience that he remarked twice upon, was that his friends and acquaintances had withdrawn from Him. And that was a bitter cup to drink, and drink it Christ had to.

The only hopeful chord that is struck in this dirge is the stubborn belief of faith, which cries, “O Lord God of my salvation.” Faith will cling to its Giver, even in the darkest hour, and faith will continue to pray.

Psalm 88

   1  Lord God, my Savior, day and night
         before thee cried have I.
   2  Before thee let my prayer come;
         give ear unto my cry.

   3  For troubles great do fill my soul;
         my life draws nigh the grave.
   4  I'm counted with those that go down
         to pit, and no strength have.

   5  Ev'n free among the dead, like them
         that slain in grave do lie;
      Cut off from thy hand, whom no more
         thou hast in memory.

   6  Thou hast me laid in lowest pit,
         in deeps and darksome caves.
   7  Thy wrath lies hard on me, thou hast
         me pressed with all thy waves.

   8  Thou hast put far from me my friends,
         thou mad'st them to abhor me;
      And I am so shut up, that I
         find no evasion for me.

   9  By reason of affliction
         mine eye mourns dolefully:
      To thee, Lord, do I call, and stretch
         my hands continually.

  10  Wilt thou show wonders to the dead?
         shall they rise, and thee bless?
  11  Shall in the grave thy love be told?
         in death thy faithfulness?

  12  Shall thy great wonders in the dark,
         or shall thy righteousness
      Be known to any in the land
         of deep forgetfulness?

  13  But, Lord, to thee I cried; my pray'r
         at morn prevent shall thee.
  14  Why, Lord, dost thou cast off my soul,
         and hid'st thy face from me?

  15  Distressed am I, and from my youth
         I ready am to die;
      Thy terrors I have borne, and am
         distracted fearfully.

  16  The dreadful fierceness of thy wrath
         quite over me doth go:
      Thy terrors great have cut me off,
         they did pursue me so.

  17  For round about me ev'ry day,
         like water, they did roll;
      And, gathering together, they
         have compassed my soul.

  18  My friends thou hast put far from me,
         and him that did me love;
      And those that mine acquaintance were
         to darkness didst remove.

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