Psalms 87-88

Talks for Growing Christians

Praise about the Glories of Israel; The Saddest Psalm

Psalms 87-88

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Lesson Number 64

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Jerusalem is God’s special city.
  2. The saddest psalm has a place in the believer’s life.

Practical Application

  1. Make sure you have your birth certificate!
  2. Let’s hang in there!


  1. What does the title “Rahab” refer to in Psalm 87:4?
  2. What does Zechariah 14:6 teach us about the role of Jerusalem in the future?
  3. Why is Psalm 88 called the saddest psalm?
  4. What is the point of verses 10-12?
  5. List the two given reasons God included this sad psalm in Scripture.


  1. Rahab is used as a nickname for Egypt (see also Psalm 89:10, Isaiah 30:7, and Isaiah 51:9). This is not a reference to Rahab the harlot; Rahab seems to have been the name of a powerful demonic force behind Egypt and thus is a nickname for Egypt.
  2. When the Lord returns and establishes His worldwide kingdom, all nations will come to Jerusalem to worship the King.
  3. In this psalm the psalmist was very close to death, forsaken by his friends, and he felt as if God had abandoned him.
  4. Heman’s point is that his desire is to praise the Lord while he is still living.
  5. 1) The sorrow and sufferings conveyed in this psalm look forward to the sufferings of Christ as the Man of Sorrows. 2) Believers can identify with the psalmist when they are going through really hard times.


  1. God sovereignly chose Jerusalem to be His dwelling place on earth. Discuss what you know about the history of Jerusalem in biblical and modern times.
  2. Have you, as Heman, felt forsaken by your friends and as if God has abandoned you? How can Psalm 88 be of encouragement to you along with Ephesians 1:11 and 1 Corinthians 10:13?


  1. Heman did not turn away from God or give up his faith in the Lord. We too should hang in there when times are tough. The Lord has not rejected us. He will deliver us. He has reason for the timing of when and how He delivers us.

Key Verses

  • “The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.” Psalm 87:2
  • “O LORD, God of my salvation, I have cried out day and night before You.” Psalm 88:1
  • “Will You work wonders for the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise You?” Psalm 88:10

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