In this blog sequence of Psalm verse treasures, how fitting that on this day, September 11, 2011, I’ve reached Psalm 77. It is a Psalm about mourning and remembering. Attributed to Asaph, the psalm speaks of someone crying out to God, desperately, all night, without relief. The writer tells us his eyes won’t close, his spirit is overwhelmed, and he is so troubled that he groans and is speechless. In verse two, and subsequent verses, he begins to explain why he is this way. It seems some big change has occurred.
In the day of my trouble, I seek (inquire of and desperately require) the Lord….
I consider the days of old, the years of bygone times. I call to remembrance my song in the night; with my heart, I meditate and my spirit searches diligently. Will the Lord cast off forever? And will he be favorable no more? Have His mercy and loving-kindness ceased forever? Have His promises ended for all time? Has God deliberately abandoned or forgotten His graciousness? Has He in anger shut up His compassion?
Verse 10 covers a trilogy of feelings. First, there is resignation.
And I say, this (apparent desertion of Israel by God) is my appointed lot and trial….
Followed by another moment of good memories, beginning with the lovely three letter word, “but.”
but I will recall the years of the right hand of the Most High (in loving-kindness extended toward us)
Finally, his sadness resurfaces.
For this is my grief, that the right hand of the Most High changes.
Are you at this point? Does it feel like something has changed for the worse? Is God allowing more bad things to happen? We, who are, “Jesus-God’s-Only-Son-died-for-my-sins–believing Christians,” know God has the power to stop evil, but He often doesn’t. Why?
I find no answer to give you. I can only hope to follow the pattern this Psalmist displays for the rest of the song. I need to practice my “God did good” remembering skills.
Asaph, in Psalm 77, remembers. He recalls the days of God’s demonstration of power and good. He shifts his focus and in doing so encourages me to have faith. Faith that another day of God’s power is coming. Here are the words I see in my Bible.
I will earnestly recall the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will earnestly remember the wonders You performed for our fathers of old.
I will meditate also upon all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary (in holiness, away from sin and guilt). Who is a great God like our God?
You are the God Who does wonders; You have demonstrated Your power among the peoples.
You have with Your mighty arm redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph.
When the waters at the Red Sea and the Jordan saw You, O God, they were afraid; the deep shuddered also, for all the water saw You.
The clouds poured down water, the skies sent out a sound of rumbling thunder; Your arrows went forth in forked lightening.
The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind, the lightening illuminated the world; the earth trembled and shook.
Your way in delivering Your people was THROUGH the sea, and Your paths THROUGH the great waters, yet Your footsteps were not traceable, but were obliterated.
You led Your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Oh, God, help us THROUGH the difficulties. Please lead us by Your hand again. You are a mighty God and we praise you. Amen