As I read through the Bible again, I am now in Psalms. I wanted to write about the less used Scriptures. There are the big Scriptures we all know like, “You must be born again.” “For God so loved the world . . . .” But my NASB has 233 pages of New Testament and 800 pages of Old. There are remarkable passages throughout, indeed on every page if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, as our Lord was prone to say frequently.
Psalm 77 is where I am right now. Here’s what I see from select verses.
Times are tough these days for vast numbers of people, what with the wars around the world and unprecedented natural disasters, to the economy at home wreaking havoc and distress among so many families. Our Coping skills are taxed to the breaking point and even beyond for many. To where or to what do you turn? The Psalmist gives voice to just such sentiment and ponders how to deal with the abyss of grief and trial, as he searches for the answer.
Psa 77:1 My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud; My voice rises to God, and He will hear me.
Psa 77:2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; In the night my hand was stretched out without weariness; My soul refused to be comforted.
There are those who’s grief and troubles are so vast they can think of little else, it becomes consuming to the point of despair.
Psa 77:7 Will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favorable again?
Psa 77:8 Has His lovingkindness ceased forever? Has His promise come to an end forever?
Psa 77:9 Has God forgotten to be gracious, Or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion?
It is quite easy in our frail humanity to feel abandoned by God. “Why have you forsaken me,” was even Jesus cry while He hung on the cross. When pain is overwhelming, physical or emotional or both, and all you can see is the miserable state of your soul it is easy to feel so utterly neglected.
Psa 77:11 I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
Psa 77:12 I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds.
At some time, hopefully before the breaking point, we have to get to the place where we look beyond our pain. It might take a while but God will wait for us and assist us to finally look up rather than down. But it isn’t just a vague stare into the nothingness of a dark universe, but it is gazing at a concrete Person and pondering those deeds done by Him that eventually stir in us a calming influence.
Psa 77:13 Your way, O God, is holy; What god is great like our God?
Psa 77:14 You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples.
Psa 77:15 You have by Your power redeemed Your people, The sons of Jacob and Joseph.
First consider the Person and then the performance. He is holy, and just such a person to be worthy of our trust and faith. There is no one and nothing that can even come close to His amazing power and glory. From the beginning of time He has done phenomenally fabulous things. There aren’t enough superlatives to employ. Just read the historical boos of the Bible and see how great and awesome a God it is that daily cares for man, and especially His chosen. Time after time He works in miraculous ways in their walk with Him. It is so worth reading, from Genesis through the Books of the Kings, and all the rest, to be amazed at His faithfulness and His patience toward Israel, and indeed all mankind.
Psa 77:16 The waters saw You, O God; The waters saw You, they were in anguish; The deeps also trembled.
Psa 77:17 The clouds poured out water; The skies gave forth a sound; Your arrows flashed here and there.
Psa 77:18 The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; The lightnings lit up the world; The earth trembled and shook.
Psa 77:19 Your way was in the sea And Your paths in the mighty waters, And Your footprints may not be known.
Not only in His dealings with mankind, but His hand is revealed in the forces of nature which always remain under His personal immanent control. There have been some awesome storms that have rolled through my coastal Georgia area, some of the most turbulent and menacing thunderclouds I’ve ever seen. In this barrier island I have never in my life seen such impressive lightning displays. A few weeks ago one late evening the lightning show lasted over an hour and with flashes so continuous there was hardly a break between. It got so intense on two occasions, the lightning flashes were so bright that the street lights turned off! The brightness and persistent light fooled the photo-sensors in the street lights into thinking it was daytime and they turned off! I thought there must have been a power outage, as there has been frequently in my area, but all the houselights were still on. It was a supreme display of electrical power that streamed from the finger of God. It was awesome!
Psa 77:20 You led Your people like a flock By the hand of Moses and Aaron.
The Psalmist is saying that even in the depths of our pain and trials, if we can only manage to look up and beyond ourselves there is a comfort in knowing Who is there and in control. This understanding can set our minds more at ease, can give us a measure of peace to help us through. The Great Shepherd has not forgotten about you. Since He holds all things together, including the atoms, by the word of His power, if He did forget about you or any of His creation, the you and it would cease to exist. If you still exist then you know for certain He has not forgotten you. Indeed, this is put most heartbreakingly in Isaiah 49:16, “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands . . . .” The crucified brand marks on Jesus’ resurrected body make it impossible that you are forgotten by Him, even for a moment. With that you can be encouraged.
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]