Well, if yesterday I wanted a lament, today I surely do not. I’m feeling great! But boy do we get a lament in Psalm 88. It is one of the most gut wrenching psalms that we have in the entire psalter. The despair in the voice of the author is palpable. What strikes me the most about this psalm is his many references to death in a whole variety of nuances.
Let’s look at the different words that he uses to describe death: Sheol (it is often used synonymously for Hell as well. But that is a mischaracterization. Sheol is simply the place where people go when they die, according to the Old Testament. It is interesting that in the Old Testament there isn’t a place where people go where there is the weeping and gnashing of teeth or where Christ is with them in eternity. The conception of heaven and hell doesn’t become more defined until the New Testament and John Milton much, much later.), pit, among the dead, grave, the regions dark and deep, shades, and land of forgetfulness. There is enough there to make you think that he thought about death often.
Here’s to hoping that the next psalm speaks more about joy than death.