Can I Be Open and Honest with God? (Psalm 88)

Does God really want me to be honest with Him?  Can I share my doubts?  Can I share the pain that I am presently feeling?  Can I be sad before Him?  So often, we pray with pious platitudes instead of with an honest heart.  Psalm 88 is called the saddest Psalm in the Bible, because the Psalmist is negative throughout the Psalm.  God doesn’t seem to be giving him an answer.

Why did God include this Psalm in His Word?   This Psalm may seem very discouraging;  yet it is encouraging.  God wants us to be open and honest with Him.  He does understand.  He does answer though it may not be in our time.   Please take the time to read this Psalm and then open your heart to God.  He is waiting to hear from you!

I. THE FAITH OF THE HONEST SOUL (1-2)
Ps 88:1 O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:
2 Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;

II. THE DESCRIPTION OF THE HONEST SOUL (3-8)
3 For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
4 I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:
5 Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.
6 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.
7 Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.
8 Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.

III. THE EARNEST PRAYER OF THE HONEST SOUL (9-12)
9 Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.
10 Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.
11 Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?
12 Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

IV. THE STEADFASTNESS OF THE HONEST SOUL (13-18)
13 But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.
14 LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?
15 I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.
16 Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.
17 They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.
18 Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.

God wants us to be open and honest with Him. God begins His work in our lives when we become honest with Him.  He may not respond to our honest appeals to Him when we desire a response, but He will respond in His way and in His Time

CAN I BE OPEN AND HONEST WITH GOD? (PSALM 88)
(An Outline to Psalm 88)

I. THE FAITH OF THE HONEST SOUL (1-2)
A. Faith in God’s Sovereignty (“LORD”)
Note: Four times he says” “LORD” (1, 9, 13, 14)
B. Faith in God’s Salvation
C. Faith in God’s Ability to Hear Prayer
II. THE DESCRIPTION OF THE HONEST SOUL (3-8)
A. The Troubled Soul (Probably because of sin)
B. The Focus on Death (3b-4a)
C. The Lack of Strength (4b)
D. The Perceived Separation from God (5)
E. The Great Darkness (Great Grief) (6)
F. The Great Humiliation (6) (Jeremiah 37:1-21)
G. The Discipline of God (7)
H. The Rejection of Others (Social Outcast) (8)

III. THE EARNEST PRAYER OF THE HONEST SOUL (9-12)
A. The Weeping before God (9) Matthew 5:4
B. The Continual Prayer before God
C. The Desperation before God (9c-10)
D. The Knowledge of God (10-12)
1. His Wonders
2. His Loving-kindness
3. His Faithfulness
4. His Righteousness

IV. THE STEADFASTNESS OF THE HONEST SOUL (13-18)
A. Confidence in prayer (13)
B. Circumstances that could make him quit (14-18)
1. Broken relationship with God (14-16)
2. Broken relationship with others (17-18)

Here is web address to the message I preached on this Psalm: http://www.calvarybaptistcharlotte.org/Media/The%20Mourning%20Song.mp3

2 thoughts on “Can I Be Open and Honest with God? (Psalm 88)

  1. Thank you Pastor Mark. It helps to know that we can be honest with God and God wants us to be honest but in our honesty does God view us as ungrateful if our honesty reveals more complaints? I must admit that in being honest and when I pray when I am most distressed and hoping to hear from God my blessings will creep into my mind.

    • Pamela, thanks for your note and very thoughtful comments. After writing this post, I thought of other things I could have written. In the future, I will need to continue to pursue this topic. As to your question, I believe that God placed this Psalm in the Bible for the very purpose of being open with Him. God already knows our thoughts; so by being open with our thoughts we are able to see more clearly what is happening in our hearts and thoughts. Once we present our feelings to Him openly, then He can deal with our hearts in that matter. Also, when we feel distressed about our thoughts, we can also open up the Word and take the time to let God speak to us. If you have any further comments on this subject, please share them. It will help me to think about what to write. Also, thanks for being a subscriber to the blog.

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