The Co-Existence of Faith and Problems

In preparing to preach on Psalm 88, the most melancholy of all the Psalms, I came across this nice quote by Geoffrey Grogan:

[Brevard] Childs has emphasized that the Old Testament canon is a body of faith literature expressing the confidence of the Old Testament believing community of God.  This is certainly true of the psalms.  Everyone must be a faith product, even when they ask the deepest of questions, reflecting the greatest of problems in the psalmist’s mind.  This is because faith and problems may co-exist.  Nowhere does Scripture promise us that all our problems will disappear if only we will believe.  As in the rest of the Bible, the faith of the psalmists is not speculative but based on God’s self-revelation.  If it rests on God, it is because it rests on truth revealed by God about himself.

Prayer, Praise & Prophecy: A Theology of the Psalms, Pg. 148. (Bold emphasis added.)

I’m finding this book to be a really nice resource for study of the Psalms and am very grateful to my colleague Kenneth Samples for recommending it!

Rev. Andrew Compton
Christ Reformed Church (URCNA)
Anaheim, CA

2 thoughts on “The Co-Existence of Faith and Problems”

  1. Hi Andrew,
    Very interesting and odd psalm. I’ve never seen it mentioned anywhere (maybe I’m the first to notice it!—Nah, probably not. I’m sure the rabbis have seen it [grin]), but if you count the words of the psalm there are 131 words (129 if you don’t count the “selah’s”). What’s fascinating is that the 66th word (or 65th if you count the “selah’s”) is עני or “affliction.” Quite literally, then, affliction is at the center of the psalm in terms of Hebrew structure. It is interesting to think about how the first (יהוה), middle (עני), and last (מחשך) words of the psalm (i.e., YHWH—affliction—darkness) affect the reader’s expectation as he or she travels through the psalm. [Okay, okay, I admit it… I wrote a paper on Ps 88 while in grad school.]

    Anyway, just some thoughts…


    1. Hahaha … Funny guy…

      Nice progression. That sort of fits the direction I saw it heading, although without the word counting that you did. It really is a remarkable Psalm, one that can be an amazing source of comfort in our own darkest times!



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