A Devo From Scot - Psalm 88

Dear Church,

During the last few months, the topic of mental health has been on the hearts and minds of many of us. In times of restriction, anxiety, anger and an uncertain future, the heaviness of decisions and fears can make us “throw out” our emotional and spiritual back. I’m not sure if you’ve ever “thrown out” your back, but I did for the first time last year. Even now when I think about it, my eyes get big and my lips get tight. It was a singularly peculiar experience. The intensity of pain hit me like a surprise bolt of lightning. I was barely mobile for days.

But what about when that happens to your spirit? To your mind? Your heart? While some may falsely believe this happens only to those of weak faith or thin spiritual maturity, I assure you, no saint of any maturity level is immune. We see it in Moses, Elijah, David, Isaiah, Peter and perhaps even Paul. Oh, and Heman the Ezrahite. Heard of him?

Heman was one of the many grandsons of Judah, the fourth son of Jacob/Israel - the progenitor of the tribe of Judah, the tribe of King David and Jesus. The Old Testament identifies Heman’s wisdom, and that of his brother Ethan, with that of Solomon, although King Solomon’s wisdom surpassed them all.

Heman wrote Psalm 88, which is all about the heaviness of despair. See how that all came together?

Take some time to read Psalm 88 right now. As you do, notice the tenor and tone of the words and statements. It is heavy, written by a very wise man that is honest about his heaviness. Whether or not you find yourself in a similar place today, what Heman reveals is worthwhile.

“O LORD…I have cried out by day and in the night before You… Incline Your ear to my cry. For my soul has had enough troubles, and my life has drawn near to Sheol [a Hebrew word for the grave].”

It’s not the first time we’ve seen this together, but it is important enough to repeat here: notice the direction of Heman’s words. He does not speak to himself. This is often the direction of dark and depressing thoughts. We speak our own voice back to our heart. That cycle tends to decay instead of blossom. No, Heman directs his voice - and complaint - to God. To the "LORD, God of my salvation.” This makes all the difference. This upward cry breaks the flat cycle of decay and invites the fresh air of honesty, vulnerability and confession to God - Your Father.

I hope your heart is light and joyful today. If it is, Psalm 88 can be a tool you familiarize yourself with now, for use in the future. If your heart is heavy today, let Psalm 88 and the wisdom of a godly man be your guide upward, expressing your heart and soul to a Father who knows and cares.

I love you church,

Scot

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