Psalm 77 is a very emotional song written by Asaph, a gifted poet from the tribe of Levi. As a Levite, Asaph was chosen by God to serve in the tabernacle (Numbers 18). King David had assigned him to give thanks to the LORD and minister before the ark of the covenant (1 Chronicles 6:7, 37). In this psalm Asaph cries aloud to God, disturbed and grief-stricken yet confident that God will hear him. Asaph’s song holds a valuable lesson for us.
1. My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud;
My voice rises to God, and He will hear me.
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.
3. When I remember God, then I am disturbed;
When I sigh, then my spirit grows faint. Selah.
4. You have held my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5. I have considered the days of old,
The years of long ago.
6. I will remember my song in the night;
I will meditate with my heart, And my spirit ponders:
7. Will the Lord reject forever?
And will He never be favorable again?
8. Has His lovingkindness ceased forever?
Has His promise come to an end forever?
9. Has God forgotten to be gracious,
Or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion? Selah.
10. Then I said, “It is my grief,
That the right hand of the Most High has changed.”
11. I shall remember the deeds of the Lord;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12. I will meditate on all Your work
And muse on Your deeds.
13. Your way, O God, is holy;
What god is great like our God?
14. You are the God who works wonders;
You have made known Your strength among the peoples.
15. You have by Your power redeemed Your people,
The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.
16. The waters saw You, O God;
The waters saw You, they were in anguish;
The deeps also trembled.
17. The clouds poured out water;
The skies gave forth a sound;
Your arrows flashed here and there.
18. The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind;
The lightnings lit up the world;
The earth trembled and shook.
19. Your way was in the sea
And Your paths in the mighty waters,
And Your footprints may not be known.
20. You led Your people like a flock,
By the hand of Moses and Aaron.
In Psalm 77, Asaph says he cried out to God all night long but found no comfort (77:1-2). He repeatedly asks if God has rejected His people and withdrawn His promises from them. But in verse 11 Asaph changes his focus and turns to remembering God’s mighty deeds of the past and the way He led His people like a flock, delivering them from slavery in Egypt by His redeeming power (77:11-20).
Remembering healed the sorrow of Asaph’s heart as he opened his eyes and heart to the glory of God, his Redeemer.
G. Campbell Morgan, in Notes on the Psalms, points out that in the first ten verses of Psalm 77, Asaph dwelt upon himself. We find twenty-two references to “self” (I, my, and me) in the first ten verses as Asaph brooded upon his sorrow. However, in verses 11-20, there are only three personal references, and twenty-four mentions of God. What an eye-opener! Asaph shows us that when we concentrate on our own grief and sorrow, we find nothing but misery and distress. Turning our attention to God, His mighty power, and His wonderful ways gives us hope. Do you prefer to meditate on your miseries or on God and His redeeming power? When you find your heart troubled and when you are unable to sleep, just remember all the ways God has blessed you. It will change your outlook and can change your life!
My mother lived to be ninety-three years old, but the last several years of her life she was confined to her bed and a wheelchair. She had always been a very active woman, but two broken hips and two broken legs had taken their toll. Even so, my mom chose to praise the Lord instead of complain or feel sorry for herself, and she always chose to wear smile. It troubled me to see my mom housebound and I enjoyed taking her out as much as possible. (She loved to go to In-n-Out Burger and eat lunch in the car.) But mostly she spent hours reading her Bible, praying for our family, and speaking and singing of her wonderful Lord. Her relationship with her Redeemer overshadowed all sorrow in her life. What an example and legacy that has been for me! When I feel down or discouraged, I remember my mom and her trust and joy in the Lord. I want to be that same kind of example to others, don’t you?
,After all, there is a God who judges on earth!
In Psalm 58, David described the unjust rulers of his time as unfair, violent, wicked, wayward liars who were deliberately destructive, and then he prayed for God to judge them. Psalm 58 is known as one of the imprecatory psalms, because it calls down curses on the wicked. David's words may seem vengeful to us when he prays for curses upon the wicked. But his purpose was not hatred or revenge. David knew that only God could judge the sins he had witnessed in his society, so he called out to God to intervene, punish the wicked, and interpose for the righteous. James Montgomery Boice, former pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, wrote, “It is a matter of David siding with God and His righteousness and not with evil” (Psalms Volume 2).
Boice called Psalm 58 “an apt prophetic description of our times” which is interesting because he wrote his commentary in 1996, twenty years ago! Boice quoted from a “Washington Post” article on national political life, “common decency can no longer be described as common” and a “New Republic” magazine article, “There is a destructive sense that nothing is true and everything is permitted.” Don't these things sound sadly descriptive of political life in 2016?
So please read what David wrote about the leaders of his time and notice how he prayed, because, after all, there is a God who judges on earth (Psalm 58:14).
1 Do you rulers indeed speak justly?
Do you judge people with equity?
2 No, in your heart you devise injustice,
and your hands mete out violence on the earth.
3 Even from birth the wicked go astray;
from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies.
4 Their venom is like the venom of a snake,
like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears,
5 that will not heed the tune of the charmer,
however skillful the enchanter may be.
6 Break the teeth in their mouths, O God;
Lord, tear out the fangs of those lions!
7 Let them vanish like water that flows away;
when they draw the bow, let their arrows fall short.
8 May they be like a slug that melts away as it moves along,
like a stillborn child that never sees the sun.
9 Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns--
whether they be green or dry—the wicked will be swept away.
10 The righteous will be glad when they are avenged,
when they dip their feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 Then people will say,
“Surely the righteous still are rewarded;
after all, there is a God who judges the earth.”
God is the Judge of the earth! He will reward the righteous and punish wickedness. God is the one and only judge who can sweep away all injustice (58:9) and cause the righteous to rejoice (58:10,11).
What wrongs do you see today in the world, in your country, and in your community that need to be changed? Do you feel powerless to make changes and set things right? Do you feel it is hopeless? Why not write a brief prayer asking God, the Righteous Judge, to bring about justice in those situations. And share that prayer in the comments section if you would like. Then ask God what He would be pleased to do through you to help make things better. The prophet Micah proclaimed:
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
When we feel we have no control, the best thing we can do is go to the One who is in control, present our case to Him, and then live as though we mean what we say.
May the Lord bless you and keep you,
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.