Psalm 88: No Praise from the Grave

When should we cry out to the Lord? Why?

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Psalm 88:1–3 To the minister of music, a song for Korah’s people, contemplations by Heman the Ezrahite.
Lord God my deliverer, I cry out to you day and night. 2 Hear my prayer and listen carefully to my pleading.
Calamities plague me to the point that I’m not far from death.
King James
Psalm 88:1–3 <A Song or Psalm for the sons of Korah, to the chief Musician upon Mahalath Leannoth, Maschil of Heman the Ezrahite.> O Lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee: Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry; For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.

If others consider us as good as dead, why shouldn’t we?

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Psalm 88:4–5 In fact, people consider me as good as dead. I have no strength left. I’m like those who are already in the grave and no longer remembered, as one who is cut off, no longer under your care.
King James
Psalm 88:4–5 I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength: Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.

Why might we think God is angry with us when he really isn’t?

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Psalm 88:6–7 You have left me in the deepest, darkest pit. I feel your anger hard against me like ocean waves crashing upon the rocks. I must pause to think about that.
King James
Psalm 88:6–7 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.

Why should we be bothered when friends forsake us? Why should we not be bothered?

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Psalm 88:8 My friends have distanced themselves like I had the plague, having nothing to do with me. I’m a prisoner in my world, with no means of escape.
King James
Psalm 88:8 Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.

Are tears good or bad? Why?

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Psalm 88:9 I can hardly see for all the tears. Every day, Lord, I’m reaching up to you in prayer.
King James
Psalm 88:9 Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: Lord, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.

What does it mean to be “spiritually dead”?

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Psalm 88:10–12 Will you do miracles among the dead? How can they arise to praise you? Pause to think about that.
Does it make sense to declare your goodness to those in the grave? Should your faithfulness be announced in the cemetery? Can your wonders be recognized in a dark world where no thought is given to righteousness?
King James
Psalm 88:10–12 Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.
Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

Why don’t people praying every morning run out of something to pray about?

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Psalm 88:13 Unlike them, I cry out to you, Lord. Every morning, I’m praying.
King James
Psalm 88:13 But unto thee have I cried, O Lord; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.

Why might people think God is ignoring them?

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Psalm 88:14 Lord, why does it seem like you are ignoring me, as if you’re not even looking my way?
King James
Psalm 88:14  Lord, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?

How conscious do you think people are that they could die at any time? Why?

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Psalm 88:15 Since childhood, I have been sick and could die at any time, helpless and afraid.
King James
Psalm 88:15 I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.

How should we respond to a flood that’s about to drown us?

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Psalm 88:16–17 Your anger is overwhelming. These attacks are destroying me, daily engulfing me like a flood until I am about to drown.
King James
Psalm 88:16–17 Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off. They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.

What can we do when darkness seems to be our only friend?

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Psalm 88:18 Both companions and close friends have turned against me. Darkness is now my only friend.
King James
Psalm 88:18 Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.