Psalm 88c

While this section of Psalm 88 may seem bleak, it is in fact a moment of great hope. It is in these verses that we see the psalmist’s faith rising up and laying hold of God. Faith is instilled in us by God’s Word, and it is exercised when we take God at his Word. Faith is our fitting response to the revelation of God’s purpose and his promises. In these verses of Psalm 88 the psalmist makes a compelling appeal based firmly in God’s revealed purpose. In fact, the psalmist appeals to the very heart of God’s purpose: To glorify himself through his creatures. We were created to reflect God’s glory and that is the point which the psalmist argues here: ‘How can I praise in the world if I die?’ The specific expression of this appeal however lifts us up to another perspective. The psalmist says: “Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do those who are dead rise up and praise you?” In the immediate context the answer to the rhetorical question is a resounding ‘no.’ But there is profound second layer to this point. In another sense the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ God is glorified precisely because he does raise the dead. But, of course, the psalmist didn’t see that much yet. However, his faith, though it did not yet conceive of the resurrection of the dead, nevertheless lay hold on the life-giving God. And that is the point of prayer.

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