The Song of a Weary Warrior—Meditations on Psalm 88

Psalm 88:1–18. This psalm is a heart cry of a righteous person who is weary of the struggles that life in this mortal existence throws him. 

Assuredly, the author of this psalm is a righteous person. This is evident because he knows that Elohim is his salvation (v. 1), and attests to the fact that he is in a faithful, prayerful and faith-driven spiritual relationship with his Creator, even as he cries out to heaven night and day (vv. 1–2, 9, 13), and even while complaining about his plight as a human who is struggle with his faith. To the super-spiritual saint, the writer of this psalm may seem like a spiritual wimp—a melting snowflake or a pansy wilting under the noonday sun. Yet the transparent and honest saint will humbly admit that from time to time they find themselves in a similar place of weariness, or even in a waste-howling wilderness of doubts and despair, in a miry pit of self-pity. David records being in this psycho-emotional state himself several times in various psalms. Even Elijah, the mighty prophet of Elohim, depressed and somewhat despondent, found himself fleeing for his life from the murderous claws of the demonic Jezebel. He finally escaped to the mountain of Elohim weary, discouraged and alone complaining to his Maker about his seemingly hapless plight. 

As weary warriors traversing this life, passing our time as a pilgrim en route to the spiritual Promised Land of the eternal kingdom of Elohim, often we feel adrift in our flimsy dinghies on the seas of humanity struggling to row against the countervailing tides and currents of the surrounding hordes of heathen, who are, in reality, in their unsaved state as good as physically dead (v. 5). This earth is a dark and lonely place for the saint. How can he relate to the walking damned around him, who are like zombies in a catatonic stupor refusing to wake up to reality, and to see, hear or consider the deeper issues of life and to acknowledge the Creator and his Messiah Savior (v. 1)? To them, the saints are a mere fools (1 Cor 4:10), and the Bible is a collection of pointless and foolish fairy tales and legends (1 Cor 1:18, 27).

Yes, the saint sometime feels as if he has been condemned to spend his or her life in the foreign land of this world as a sojourner or pilgrim merely passing through en route to something better out there somewhere that never seems to arrive at their doorstep. Although we’re en route to a better place, nonetheless, along the way we find ourselves passing much time in the Valley of Baca or weeping (Ps 84:6), which is a place that is rife with trouble and discouragement, for many times we feel as if the resting place of the grave would be an improvement to our present lot (vv. 3–4). However, consider this: What would our life be like without Elohim who is our salvation (v. 1) and who, along with his Word and Spirit, guides and walks besides us en route to the better place that is beyond this present life? His help and guidance and what lies beyond is our light and hope in the present darkness of this world. This is the substance of the saint’s faith (see Heb 11:1) is it not?

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