EMAN had a preoccupation with death. In just 18 verses, the author here throws in a baker's dozen references to the morbid mortality of his own existence. Not surprisingly, what he perceived as his impending death frightened him and caused him to spend his time in tears. He said that he was ''free among the dead" - that is, he felt that he had more in common with the residents of the local graveyard than he had with the living. He was losing his ties with this life.
When our troubles overwhelm us, and we perceive that death is truly imminent, the common cares of life can begin to recede from our view. Our monthly bills or the pennant race may fittingly become irrelevant trivialities. Suddenly our preferred foods, our favorite color or our most ingrained habits can slip away from us into absolute extraneousness. Heman's coming death was a harsh realization for Him. He felt like God's rage against him was flowing over him in waves of affliction (Psalm 88:7). If all of that wasn't bad enough, he felt like he was going it alone through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 88:8). So, he was torn. On the one hand He had consigned himself to the inevitability of his own end (Psalm 88:15), yet he was also praying for God to deliver him from what he thought was truly an untimely demise. Practically speaking, living is more needful and useful than dying (Psalm 88:11-12). When you are at your lowest, focus on staying alive.