MISERY, MYSTERY, HISTORY
Loving Savior, I rejoice in the day You have made; please fill me with a fresh infusion of Your resurrection life this week.
Read Psalm 77
For the director of music. For Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm.
1 I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
3 I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.[b]
4 You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
7 “Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
13 Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16 The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
a Psalm 77:1 In Hebrew texts 77:1-20 is numbered 77:2-21.
b Psalm 77:3 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verses 9 and 15.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat facts do you know about God and his works?
The honest heart-cries of the psalmist reveal his deep misery (1–6). Things were not as he imagined they should be, nor as they once were (5). His heart-pain is so real to our own experience, when loss strikes, and when God seems to have abandoned us (7).
The psalmist wrestles with the mystery of an apparently indifferent God, or worse, a God whose fundamental character has changed (8, 9). How wonderful that God has preserved such honest thoughts in our Scriptures, giving us a voice for our own inner wrestling in times of distress.
Yet, confusing mystery is not where God is found. Our God is God of concrete history. For the psalmist the events of the Exodus (16–20) prove beyond doubt that God is on the side of his people. For Christians, the cross of Jesus is our historical proof that, even in the mystery of misery, the loving God is still with us (Romans 8:31, 32; 1 John 3:16).
Are you honest with God when you’re full of pain or doubt? Let the Psalms inspire you to believe that God can handle the rawness of human experience. Transform your prayer life: get real with God!
My God, I don’t have all the pieces put together. Pick me up and put me together as only You can do.