Psalm 88 is a personal psalm, prayed by someone whose suffering sounds a lot like Christ's own suffering. Lamenting the troubles that God has visited upon him, the psalmist clings to the hope that God shall yet save him. This psalm evokes feelings of sadness and abandonment. The psalmist is so overcome by troubles that he wonders if God will hear him. Surely the loneliness spoken here has been felt by many suffering Christians. Yet even in sorrow and suffering, God inclines His ear toward His people, always ready to hear and answer us according to His mercy.
Psalm 89 speaks of the rise and fall of David's kingdom, suggesting a date during the time of the kings. Because David's sons, the kings of Judah, did not remain faithful to God, God has visited judgment upon His people. Lamenting this harsh treatment, the psalmist calls upon God to relent and to restore His people once again. It speaks primarily of David, who enjoyed God's faithfulness and promises. Even when David sinned and felt the weight of God's Law, he still relied completely upon God. "How long, O Lord? (v.46) easily comes to the lips of all who, because of their sins, have suffered under the weight of God's Law. God's steadfast love of old and His faithfulness are shown most clearly in Christ, whose death and resurrection provide the remedy for all troubles.
Psalm 90 does not name any specific event or crisis, so this psalm is suited for any time of lament, when the frailty of life stands in stark contrast to God's eternal strength. Compare the barrenness of fall and winter with the new life and promises of spring. Our lives in times of crisis or trouble and the promise of Christ's resurrection.
In our reading from 1 Peter, we're reminded that Christ suffered in the flesh and became sin in our stead. He now calls us to live the new life He has given us as stewards of His gifts. Everything we have, even our lives, are used to benefit the Church and our neighbor. Through our words and actions we bring Christ to a world that is dead in sin so that some may come alive in Christ, even as we have been made alive. God permits suffering in our lives for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it comes as a direct result of our own sin in order to discipline us. Other times it is an effect of being God's child in a world that wants to crush His Church. Although we do not know God's hidden will, we trust He has only the best in mind for us. He will strengthen, uphold, and bless us in the midst of persecution. He will use any afflictions we face for our good or for blessing others. With our eyes on the cross, we can endure. Our God will preserve us, and He has prepared an eternal home for us in heaven for the sake of Christ.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Psalms 91-93; 1 Peter 5