1 For the director of music. For Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm.
I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. 2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.
3 I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint. Selah 4 You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. 5 I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; 6 I remembered my songs in the night. My heart mused and my spirit enquired:
7 “Will the Lord reject for ever? Will he never show his favour again? 8 Has his unfailing love vanished for ever? Has his promise failed for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” Selah
10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.” 11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. 13 Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? 14 You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. 15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah 16 The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. 17 The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. 18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. 19 Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. 20 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Psalm 77 – When prayer seems empty
(Verses 1-2) Again, Asaph cries out to God to hear and help him. When you feel you need His help, do the same. The Bible says, ‘The LORD is my Helper.’ He will answer. Your ‘confidence’ is that God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you.’ (Hebrews 13:5-6) Asaph uses his sleepless nights to persist in prayer. How wise, although he feels no comfort. God answers prayer not because of how you feel, but because He is faithful.
(Verses 3-6) He remembers God, but feels troubled, not peaceful. That may surprise you. As he complains, he feels worse still. Why? Probably, because as he groans and feels weak and troubled, he looks back to better days in nostalgia with an ‘If only’ attitude. Instead of God’s unchanging faithfulness, he focuses on things not now being as they were in ‘the former days’ of ‘long ago’ when he sang for joy in the night! He compares his mood then and now. Beware of self-pity! Focus on God!
(Verses 7-9) As old doubts from the devil return as a result, Asaph asks himself (not God) if he is finally rejected, if God has removed His favour, if God’s ‘unfailing love’ has failed, if God has broken His promise, if God has forgotten His mercy, and if God’s anger replaced compassion. The same logical answer to each question is ‘NO’ and should turn him back to God!
(Verses 10-20) In fact, he now does begin his way back to fellowship with God. He will appeal to how God always handles things, the deeds God has performed, and His mighty power even to work miracles. Determined now to concentrate on God’s works and deeds, He soon considers God’s holiness, greatness, power, redemption, and details of how He led Israel out of Egypt, through the Red Sea as if it was dry land. When doubts and fears assail you, as they will from time to time, think of God’s faithful character and works. If you have trusted Jesus as your Saviour, you are ‘redeemed’ through Christ’s shed blood and risen life. Focus on those miraculous and great works of God for you. He died for you, was punished for your sins, and lives to bless you now and forever. Your ever-present Lord is a far better leader, guide and rescuer than Israel ever had in Moses and Aaron! He is LORD!