July 22 2023
Today, Saturday July 22
“I Will Remember Your Wonders…”
“I cried out to God with my voice-- To God with my voice; And He gave ear to me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah
You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, The years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, And my spirit makes diligent search. Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah
And I said, "This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High." I will remember the works of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds.”
Psalm 77 was written by a man named Asaph who lived in the time of Jeremiah. The Babylonians, who sometimes are called Chaldeans in the Old Testament, had attack Israel, and subdued it. But somewhat left it intact with appointed rulers and if they cooperated and paid their tribute to Babylon they would be left alone. But when the leaders rebelled against Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar sent his armies to destroy Jerusalem and everyone and everything in it. Jeremiah was prophesying and telling the people to surrender, or they would all die. It is during this time that Asaph, the worship leader, is writing this Psalm.
Asaph begins this Psalm in the despair of darkness and is praying (vv. 1-2) and is sharing how he feels. You get a real sense of his mood when you read these first nine verses. As you read these verses, look how many times he says, “I” or “my”. He is in a bad mood!
This sounds a lot like many of us when we are overwhelmed with a crisis that is devastating! We focus on how bad things are and how bad we have it. We become dark and moody, asking questions like Asaph does in verses 7-9. We feel like God has forsaken us, as well as everyone else. So, what should we do?
During the crisis experiences of life, there comes a time when we must get ourselves by the nape of the neck and shake ourselves out of pity into reality, and that's what Asaph did. Notice how the “I” and “my” of Asaph’s inward focus in the first verses changes in verses 10-12 into the repeated "I will". This indicates that he had come to the place of decision and determination.
I love what Oswald Chambers said in “His Utmost for His Highest” devotional on May 20: “There are certain things we must not pray about moods, for instance. Moods never go by praying, moods go by kicking. A mood nearly always has its seat in the physical condition, not in the moral. It is a continual effort not to listen to the moods which arise from a physical condition; never submit to them for a second. We have to take ourselves by the scruff of the neck and shake ourselves, and we will find that we can do what we said we could not. The curse with most of us is that we won't. The Christian life is one of incarnate spiritual pluck.”
In verse 10, Asaph sums up his mood and feeling with, “And I said, This is my anguish”. I believe he is referring to the previous verses where he was expressing his “complaints” and his “spirit being overwhelmed” (v. 3). Basically, what he was feeling was that "God has deserted His people, and this is a burden I must bear!" He was wrong, of course, because the Lord doesn't change (Psalm 102:26; Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29).
But Asaph by an act of will, decided to abandon his former posture of doubt, worry and fear and determined to see the matter through, come what may (vv. 10b-12). He decided to meditate on what God had done for Israel in the past and to learn from His deeds what He was intending for His people. It is interesting that Jeremiah personally expressed this same thing in Jeremiah 20:9, “Then I said, "I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name." But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.”
Today, or whenever you are facing a crisis, by an act of the will and by the grace of God, refuse to be overcome by it and begin to mediate on God’s Word and His greatness, and I’ll guarantee you, you will find out that what the devil meant for evil in your life, God will turn it into something good (Romans 8:28).