Heman and the Master of the Universe (Part Three)February 23, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Posted in Heman and the Master of the Universe | 3 Comments
Tags: Biblical chastening, chastening, chastisement, God's wrath, Heman, prayer, prayer in suffering, propitiation, Psalm 88, wrath of God
In Psalm 88 Heman prayed openly. He prayed obstinately. And he prayed obnoxiously. Note some of the broad generalizations he used, and the self-centered assumption that God was doing His absolute worst to Heman:
For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
“Full?” We often feel this way when we are in extreme distress, but this is an exaggeration that attempts to disguise the fact that God truly sees to the very depths of our soul.
Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.
“The lowest?” No matter how low we may feel, the pit of anguish in which we languish is far shallower, by God’s grace, than the one we deserve, apart from Him.
Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted [me] with all thy waves.
“All Thy waves?” No, not a one of us, from the strongest to the most faithful to the most affliction-hardened, could withstand one instant under the full tide of God’s wrathful surf. We would be obliterated. Only Christ could, and has, experienced this type of wrath in our place.
Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.
What Heman was truly experiencing was not the “fierce wrath” of God. What he was actually experiencing was the chastisement of His loving God, which, although no doubt severe, is done out of kindness, with the goal of correction, the way a good father disciplines his son, not out of petty anger, frustration, or perverse joy, but with the intention that the son may benefit, grow, and learn – not be “cut off.”
That Heman’s feelings, although sincere, were not valid in their extremity, is evidenced by the fact that He was still given grace to pray, and that he had the consolation of knowing that the Master of the Universe was listening.
Next time we will see that Heman also prayed obstetrically.