The final plea to Yahweh (Ps 88:13-88:18)

“I cry out to you!

Yahweh!

In the morning

My prayer comes before you.

Yahweh!

Why do you cast me off?

Why do you hide your face from me?

Wretched and close to death from my youth on,

I suffer your terrors.

I am desperate.

Your wrath has swept over me.

Your dread assaults destroy me.

They surround me

Like a flood

All day long.

From all sides,

They close in on me.

You have caused friends

To shun me.

You have caused neighbors

To shun me.  

My companions are in darkness.”

Just like Job, the psalmist remains faithful despite all his sufferings. Thus this psalm ends with a direct appeal to Yahweh, over and over again. He cried out in the morning to God. Why was he cast off? Why couldn’t he see the face of God? He believed that his physical suffering was related to his spiritual sufferings. His whole life he has been close to death with his physical afflictions. He felt like he was surrounded with waves of water all around him. More than that was the fact that his friends and neighbors were now shunning him. The only friend that he had left was darkness itself. Wow! This is a dreary bleak psalm of agony.

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Wake up Yahweh (Ps 44:23-44:26)

“Rouse yourself!

Why do you sleep?

Yahweh!

Awake!

Do not cast us off forever!

Why do you hide your face?

Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?

We sink down to the dust.

Our bodies cling to the ground.

Rise up!

Come to our help!

Redeem us!

For the sake of your steadfast love!’

Instead of an ending praise, this is like a command to God to help them. This psalmist wanted God to wake up from his sleep. They did not want to be cast off forever. Why was God hiding his face? Had he forgotten about their afflictions and oppressions? They were sinking like dust on the ground. He wanted God to rise up and help him. He wanted God to show his steadfast love by saving them.

Yahweh saves (Ps 34:19-34:22)

Resh   

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous.

However, Yahweh rescues them from all.

Shin   

He keeps all their bones.

Not one of them will be broken.

Tav     

Evil brings death to the wicked.

Those who hate the righteous

Will be condemned.

Vav     

Yahweh redeems the life of his servants.

None of those who take refuge in him

Will be condemned.”

The righteous ones are not without trouble and afflictions, but Yahweh saved them from all their troubles. He kept their bones from being broken. Death would fall upon the wicked. Those who hated the righteous would be condemned. Yahweh saved the lives of his servant. Anyone who took refuge in Yahweh would not be condemned, while those who hated the righteous will be condemned.

Distress and sin (Ps 25:15-25:18)

Ain     

“My eyes are ever toward Yahweh.

He will pluck my feet out of the net.

Phe     

Turn to me!

Be gracious to me!

I am lonely and afflicted.

Cade   

Relieve the troubles of my heart!

Bring me out of my distress!

Qoph  

Consider my affliction!

Consider my trouble!

Forgive all my sins!”

The psalmist or David puts this on a very personal note. His eyes are on Yahweh because he knew that Yahweh would get his feet out of any net. He wanted Yahweh to turn to him and be gracious. He was lonely and afflicted. He wanted the troubles of his heart brought to an end. He wanted to get out of his distress and afflictions. The only way was for Yahweh to forgive him his sins.

Job’s lament (Job 30:24-30:31)

“Surely one does not turn against the needy.

When in disaster they cry for help.

Did I not weep for those whose day was hard?

Was not my soul grieved for the poor?

But when I looked for good,

Evil came.

When I waited for light,

Darkness came.

My inward parts are in turmoil.

They are never still.

Days of affliction come to meet me.

I go about in sunless gloom.

I stand up in the assembly.

I cry for help.

I am a brother of jackals.

I am a companion of ostriches.

My skin turns black.

My skin falls from me.

My bones burn with heat.

My lyre is turned to mourning.

My pipe is turned to the voice of those who weep.”

This is Job’s final summary lament. The so-called patient Job was upset about his situation. Job had tried to help the needy and the poor when they needed help. However, no one heard his cry for help. He was looking for good things, but all he got was evil things. He wanted light and all he got was darkness. His stomach was upset with various afflictions that had come to him. Every day was a cloudy day. He was like a brother to wild dogs and ostriches. His skin was turning black and falling off. His whole body felt like it was burning up. His musical instruments only played mourning and weeping songs. This was the Job who did not like his situation. This was the distressed impatient Job pleading with God.