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The Scriptorium

The Assurance of Things Hoped For

All we hope for is fulfilled in Jesus. Psalm 88

Man of Sorrows (7)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 88.13-15
But to You I have cried out, O LORD,
And in the morning my prayer comes before You.
LORD, why do You cast off my soul?
Why do You hide Your face from me?
I have been afflicted and ready to die from my youth;
I suffer Your terrors;
I am distraught.

Sing Psalm 88.13-16
(Picardy: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence)
Morning comes and, Lord, I am crying: Why do You my soul reject?
From my youth have I been dying; pain and terrors sore afflict.
Fear and anger, sorely trying, overwhelm, destroy, reject.

Read Psalm 88; meditate on verses 13-15

1. How would you describe the overall mood of this psalm?

2. How can you see Heman’s faith even amid his anguish?

There is an art to dying well, and that art consists in living well all the way to the day of your death.

Heman was a wise man, whose reputation for wisdom was second only to Solomon’s. He walked with the Lord, and he was able to help others know and commune with Him as well. He was a man of sound faith, daily worship, constant prayer, and loving service to others. Heman kept communion with God throughout his life, even as he was sinking into death.

By trusting God and obeying Him throughout his life, Heman was able to hold fast to Him at life’s end. His continuing in prayer as he was descending into death shows us that he was trusting himself to God even as life, friends, and light departed from him. We are meant to hope from this that Heman would not be disappointed in his desire to continue praising and serving God, that in a way yet veiled from the sons of Korah who composed this psalm, God had further – and doubtless greater – things in store for His faithful servant. Faith, the writer of Hebrews explained, involves being assured of things hoped for (Heb. 11.1), even though we must pass through valleys of tears during our sojourn to our eternal dwelling.

Heman is a type of Christ, Who also experienced distress and anguish, yet trust and hope, as His own death approached. Jesus is the answer to Heman’s questions. No, death is not the end. Yes, we will triumph over the grave. No, our praise and service to God are not finished. Yes, we will be raised in Jesus to worship the Lord forevermore. No, our prayers do not fall on deaf ears. Yes, God hears and cares and will provide for us, even to the day of our death and beyond.

Heman, a man of sorrows, points us to Jesus, the true Man of Sorrows, Who by His grief and suffering made a way to eternal life and joy for all who cling to Him throughout their lives. We may expect to die well, in the full confidence of God’s ongoing care, so long as we live well for Jesus through all our days.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
To die well, we must live well. And to live well, we must belong to Christ and follow Him daily.

Psalm 119.161-168 gives us guidance in how to do this daily. The Twelve Step antidote to the poison of betrayal, affliction, weakness, depression, sadness and terror (Ps. 88.1-18) is found within these eight verses:

1. Underserved persecution, within and without, drives us to be awestruck by God’s Word. (Ps. 119.161)
2. In all circumstances we rejoice at this Word as one who finds great treasure. (Ps. 119.162)
3. We hate and abhor all sin in our lives. (Ps. 119.163)
4. We love God’s Law. (Ps. 119.163)
5. All day long we praise God because of His righteous judgments. (Ps. 119.164)
6. God, in turn, gives us great peace because we love His Law. (Ps. 119.165)
7. Because we love and obey His Law no sin trips us up or causes us to stumble. (Ps. 119.165)
8. We have faith and hope in the unseen salvation that awaits us. (Ps. 119.166)
9. Because we have hope in His salvation, we do His commandments. (Ps. 119.166)
10. When we do His commandments, our soul is strengthened to keep His testimonies. (Ps. 119.167)
11. Because we keep His testimonies it makes us love them exceedingly more. (Ps. 119.167)
12. We believe all this to be true, therefore, we are encouraged to be obedient to His precepts and testimonies, because He sees everything that we do, and knows the contents of our hearts. (Ps. 119.168)

Love and fear of God and His Word, hold the key to the art of living and dying well (Jn. 14.15; 15.14).

Jesus Christ, the Man of Sorrows, suffered life and death for us, that we might live and die well. (Jn. 3.16)

“ ‘Man of Sorrows’, what a name for the Son of God who came
ruined sinners to reclaim! Hallelujah! What a Savior!”

“Guilty, vile and helpless, we; spotless Lamb of God was He;
‘full atonement’ can it be? Hallelujah! What a Savior!”

“When He comes, our glorious King, all His ransomed home to bring,
then anew this song we’ll sing: Hallelujah! What a Savior!”
(Philip P. Bliss, 1875)

1. It’s a good thing Jesus became the Man of Sorrows for us. Is it also good that we experience sorrows and afflictions at times? Explain.

2. What can we learn from Heman about how to deal with our trials and afflictions?

3. What do we mean by saying that Heman is a type of Christ? Why is it important we understand that? How does knowing this help us in reading the Old Testament?

…the pleas here used were peculiarly suited to Christ. And we are not to think that the holy Jesus suffered for us only at Gethsemane and on Calvary. His whole life was labor and sorrow; he was afflicted as never man was, from his youth up. He was prepared for that death of which he tasted through life.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 88.10-18

Closing Prayer: Psalm 88.1-3

Give thanks to God for the trials and challenges He allows to come your way, and praise Him in advance that not one of His precious and very great promises will ever fail (2 Pet. 1.4).

Sing Psalm 88.1-3
(Picardy: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence)
Lord of my salvation, hear me, as I cry by night and day.
Hear my plea, O Lord, bend near me; O, receive me when I pray!
For my soul is weak and weary, and my life draws near the grave.

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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