May 22 17

Unparalleled Sorrow


Psalm 88

Each week when I write on the Psalms, I begin in nearly the same way. I do a simple reading of the text to see if there is anything that stands out and speaks to me in a special way. Next, I go to commentaries to see what others have said and usually to pick up some historical background. When I finished reading this psalm, I said to myself, “Oh man, how sad and how so much like Christ!” I did not feel I needed to go further because it sounded so much like the agony of Christ as He went through the sorrows of the cross.

The psalm needs a comment on every verse, but I cannot do that here. As you read, the parallels to Jesus are so striking that you will not miss my commentary. Surprisingly though, after reading commentary, there were some commentators that made no connection to Christ. Since apparently it can be missed, let me point out just a few verses. Once you see the pattern, you can easily fill in the blanks.

Notice verse 4: “I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength.” In Jesus dwelled all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. All power belonged to Him, but as a man He subjected Himself to the weaknesses of the flesh. He was cruelly beaten until it was impossible for Him to lift His cross. He was a man with all strength taken away.

Verse 7: “Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou has afflicted me with all thy waves.” God poured out on Him the fury of hell because He had taken sin on Him. No one knows the extent of the pain and suffering. It was the equivalent of the infinite suffering of hell for those who would believe.

Verse 8: “Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou has made me an abomination unto them…” Who can help but think of Peter who cursed in his denial, “I do not know the man!”

Verse 11: “Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?” Jesus knew the Father would raise Him. If He agreed to die, the Father would complete the plan. A dead and corrupted Christ in the grave would dishonor the Father. He must be raised to take on a glorified body. He is the firstfruits of the resurrection which ensures the Father would be glorified in our resurrection.

Verse 14: “LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?” Does this not sound like, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Verse 15: “I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up…” As just a boy, Jesus said, “I must be about my Father’s business.” As a young man He said, “For this cause came I into the world.” What cause? The cruel death of the cross. He lived with the view of where He was going from the time He was old enough to understand.

Someone wrote this is the saddest of all the psalms. Who cannot agree when it gives such a vivid picture of the sorrows of Christ? He went lower than anyone has ever gone. Here is our solace. To the bitterest of depths went Christ (v.6), but He arose triumphantly over the grave. Sin, Satan, death, and hell are defeated. His sorrow is your joy, for by believing in Him the dark night of the worst terrors is done.


Oh the grace of Christ the Sovereign to receive around His throne

Distant souls from every nation, once estranged, but now His own!

Bound by blood, we’ll stand together, unified by love’s great cost;

With one voice, we’ll sing forever, “Thank you, Jesus, for the cross!”