This week’s CBD Devotion was out of Psalm 77, a Psalm of Asaph. I was reminded after reading this passage about a situation with my 2 year old son, Jeremiah. Just recently on a family vacation Jeremiah was trying to hide from me in a clothing store. I responded by hiding from him, always keeping him in view. It only took a few moments for him to come to the realization that he was not hiding, but had been lost and forgotten. His reaction was priceless! Once he saw me, he ran to my leg and squeezed it. I responded, “Jeremiah stay close to me.” I had not forgotten or lost Jeremiah, I knew exactly where he was, even when he thought I had lost him. This is great background as we think about how the Chief Musician Asaph must have felt in writing Psalm 77.
Background on Asaph
1 Chronicles 6:39 (ESV)
39 and his brother Asaph, who stood on his right hand, namely, Asaph the son of Berechiah, son of Shimea,
1 Chronicles 16:4–5 (ESV)
4 Then he appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the LORD, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel. 5 Asaph was the chief, and second to him were Zechariah, Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel, who were to play harps and lyres; Asaph was to sound the cymbals,
I. The Picture of Darkness. (1-9)Psalm 77:1–9 (ESV)
1 I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. 2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. 3 When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah 4 You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 5 I consider the days of old, the years long ago. 6 I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” Then my spirit made a diligent search: 7 “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? 8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah
It isn’t a sin to question God, for both David and Jesus asked the Lord the same question (22:1; Matt. 27:46), but it is a sin to demand an immediate answer or to suggest that God needs our counsel (Rom. 11:33–36). Asaph asked six questions, all of which dealt with the very character and attributes of God.
1. Has He rejected us? No! He is faithful to His Word (Lam. 3:31–33).
Lamentations 3:31–33 (ESV)
31 For the Lord will not cast off forever, 32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; 33 for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.
2. Will He ever again show favor to Israel? Yes! (Ps. 30:5. Isa. 60:10)
Psalm 30:5 (ESV)
5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Isaiah 60:10 (ESV)
10 Foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you; for in my wrath I struck you, but in my favor I have had mercy on you.
3. Has His unfailing love vanished forever? No! (Jer. 31:3)
Jeremiah 31:3 (ESV)
3 the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
4. Have His promises failed? No! (1 Kings 8:56)
1 Kings 8:56 (ESV)56 “Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant.
5. Has He forgotten to be gracious? No! (Isa. 49:14–18)
Isaiah 49:14–18 (ESV)
14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” 15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. 16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. 17 Your builders make haste; your destroyers and those who laid you waste go out from you. 18 Lift up your eyes around and see; they all gather, they come to you. As I live, declares the LORD, you shall put them all on as an ornament; you shall bind them on as a bride does.
6. Is He so angry, He has shut up His compassions? No! (Lam. 3:22–24)
Lamentations 3:22–24 (ESV)
22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
It has well been said that we should never doubt in the darkness what God had told us in the light, but Asaph was about to do so. No matter what His hand is doing in our lives, His heart has not changed. He still loves us and always will.
Wiersbe, W. W. (2004). Be worshipful (1st ed.). “Be” Commentary Series (250–251). Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries.
II. The Picture of Decision (10-12)
Psalm 77:10–12 (ESV)
10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” 11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Truth vs. Feelings
Decisions reveal your depth (Theology and Doctrine)
We don’t make decisions for what God does or does not do, but who God is!
Deliverance and victory may not be immediate my friend, but they are inevitable if you are in Christ. Don’t trust your feelings or circumstance, trust in Christ.
III. The Picture of Declaration (13-20)
Psalm 77:13–20 (ESV)
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 might among the peoples. 15 You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah 16 When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. 17 The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side. 18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. 19 Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. 20 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Asaph’s Response To Darkness:
He looked Up! (13-15)
He looked Back! (16-20)
Truth To Live By
1. God does not forget or lose those He has redeemed!
John 10:28–29 (ESV)
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
Article 5 Grace (BFM)
All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
2. God is NOT Finished with You Yet!
Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.