A Psalm or song for the sons of Korah
1: His foundation is in the holy mountains. 2: The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. 3: Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah. 4: I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there. 5: And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. 6: The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah. 7: As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.
A song or Psalm for the sons of korah to the chief musician upon Mahaleth leannoth
Maschil of Heman the Ezrahite
A Prayer for life
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; 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. 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? 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.
Today we have been reading Psalm 87 & 88. In Psalm 87 we have a Psalm dedicated to the sons of Korah, in which we have described the blessedness of those who dwell in Zion. There are three verses all of which begin with describing other dwellings, nations and peoples and they all are in contrast to the city of God Zion. In the beginning the Psalmist says that the foundations which the Lord has laid are situated in the holy mountains of the Lord. Then he says, The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. The gates of Zion are the focus of the civil and religious life of Zion they are the means of entrance for the people of God into the very presence of the Lord. Then the Psalmist says that there are things which are spoken about the city of God which bring glory to God. Then there is a pause in the music to think about those things. He says I could talk of Egypt (the ancient enemies of the Lord) and he says I could talk of Babylon (which though Babylon claimed to be the greatest city in the world does not have the blessing of God on her) Then he says, Look Philistia and Tyre and look Ethiopia this man was born here. It will become a matter of high status in the Messianic kingdom when a man can say that he was born in Zion. The Lord himself will establish Zion. When the Lord counts his people it will be a high honour for a man or woman to say I was born in Zion. Think about that. The choirs of the Lord will be in Zion and the springs of the Lord will flow out of the city. It seems that this is a prophetic Psalm which describes certain aspects of the Millennial kingdom and of Zion. In Psalm 88 we are introduced to a teaching Psalm composed by Heman who was an Ezrahite. Heman was a Kohathite 1Kings 4v31 and he is celebrated for his wisdom. This Psalm has two verses both of which begin with prayer. And then in both verses, he speaks of death, the wrath of God and desolation. Heman begins saying, O Lord God of my deliverance, I have wept day and night in front of you. Let my prayer be heard and listen to my weeping. Then he says, my soul is full of troubles and I am staring at an open grave. I am counted by the undertaker as a dead man and I have no strength. Set me free from the dead O Lord, who you have killed that they might never be remembered. You have laid me in the deepest grave in the depths of the blackness of darkness. And your wrath lies heavy on me. You have drowned me in your floods. Think about that. You have separated me far away from my friends. I am like a stinking corpse to them. I am buried so that I cannot rise. My eyes mourn my own death O LORD. I have called everyday on you and lifted up my hands to you. Will you show miracles to the dead? Will the dead rise up to sing your praises? Think of that. Will your grace be preached to the dead? Will they be taught your faithfulness who lie in destruction? Can the dead see your wonders in the pitch dark? Can they see your righteousness in the land of those who have no memory? O Lord my prayer comes before you morning and evening. O Lord why do you turn away from me? Why have you hidden your face from me? Heman says, I have been afflicted by you and I have been ready to die from my childhood and I am terrified to distraction. Your fierce wrath comes over me like a flood and my fear of you destroys me. They surround me everyday like a flood. You have taken from me my lover, closest friends and my acquaintances.