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Or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion?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 He repeatedly asks if God has rejected His people and withdrawn His promises from them.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?
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.