Psalms of Honesty and Truth
There have been times in my life that I have been challenged greatly in work, in personal relationships, in finances, generally just living life. We all have these moments if we care to admit. It is especially hard when your motivation was to be honest but kind and live out God’s truth in this journey on earth. If you do well at doing that, the evil one does not like it, so he works in people to bring you down, tell lies about you and make you suffer by making you wonder for days filled with sleepless nights what you did wrong.
I cry out to God; yes, I shout.
Oh, that God would listen to me!
2 When I was in deep trouble,
I searched for the Lord.
All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven,
but my soul was not comforted.
3 I think of God, and I moan,
overwhelmed with longing for his help. Interlude
4 You don’t let me sleep.
I am too distressed even to pray!
5 I think of the good old days,
long since ended,
6 when my nights were filled with joyful songs.
I search my soul and ponder the difference now.
7 Has the Lord rejected me forever?
Will he never again be kind to me?
8 Is his unfailing love gone forever?
Have his promises permanently failed?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he slammed the door on his compassion? Interlude
10 And I said, “This is my fate;
the Most High has turned his hand against me.” (Ps 77, NLT)
If you are a believer, you cry out to God much like the Psalmist is doing in today’s passage. By being honest before God, His Holy Spirit has a way of redirecting your rejection from humans by helping you remember all the ways God has delivered you in the past. We are loved by the God of creation. We are a redeemed person. So our thoughts rejoice when we remember as the Psalmist did:
But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
12 They are constantly in my thoughts.
I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.
13 O God, your ways are holy.
Is there any god as mighty as you?
14 You are the God of great wonders!
You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
15 By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
(Psalm 77, NLT)
What we can learn…from the situation at that time….
Psalm 77, like Psalm 74, lamented over the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of Israel. Both deal with the Lord’s apparent rejection of His people (74:1; 77:7), and both look for renewed hope back to the exodus (74:12-15; 77:16-19). When Jerusalem fell, many Jews were slain, and many were taken captive to Babylon. Asaph may have been in Jeremiah’s “circle” and left behind to minister to the suffering remnant (Jer. 30–40).
But Asaph himself was suffering as he lay in bed at night (vv. 2, 6) and wrestled with the meaning of the terrible events he had witnessed. In this psalm, he described how he moved from disappointment and despair to confidence that the Lord would care for His people.
Unable to sleep, Asaph began by praying (vv. 1-2), then moved into remembering (vv. 3-6), and finally found himself questioning (vv. 7-9). In times of crisis and pain, prayer is the believer’s natural response, and Asaph reached out his hands in the darkness and cried out to the Lord.
Asaph asked six questions, all of which dealt with the very character and attributes of God.
Has He rejected us? No! He is faithful to His Word.
Will He ever again show favor to Israel? Yes!
(Ps. 30:5; Isa. 60:10)
Has His unfailing love vanished forever? No!
Have His promises failed? No!
(1 Kings 8:56)
Has He forgotten to be gracious? No!
Is He so angry, He has shut up His compassion? No!
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 God’s hand is doing in our lives, His heart has not changed. He still loves us and always will. We are redeemed!
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. We are redeemed by our God who NEVER changes His love for us!
When the Red Sea saw you, O God,
its waters looked and trembled!
The sea quaked to its very depths.
17 The clouds poured down rain;
the thunder rumbled in the sky.
Your arrows of lightning flashed.
18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;
the lightning lit up the world!
The earth trembled and shook.
19 Your road led through the sea,
your pathway through the mighty waters—
a pathway no one knew was there!
20 You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,
with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds. (Ps 77, NLT)
When we look at our circumstances, we focus on ourselves and see no hope; but when we look by faith to the Lord, our circumstances may not change, but we do. Asaph didn’t completely solve his problems, but he did move out of the shadows of doubt into the sunshine of communion with the Lord and confidence in Him. We are redeemed and delivered!
As believers, we look back to Calvary, where the Lamb of God gave His life for us. If God the Father did not spare His own Son for us, will He not give us everything else that we need (Rom. 8:32)? There is a wonderful future for the people of God!
Asaph had some struggles during this difficult period in his life, but in the end, he knew he could trust the Lord to work out everything for good, and like an obedient sheep, he submitted to the Shepherd. That is what we must do.
In Jesus Name, and by HIS power working in us, Amen!