Psalm 77: When God Seems Far Away, Remember What He's Done in Your Life

Psalm 77: When God Seems Far Away, Remember What He’s Done in Your Life

There are times when God deliberately works in ways that don’t make sense to us. Is it to test our faith or to pull us closer to Him? Let’s dig in…

Psalm 77

For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of Asaph.

I cry out to God; yes, I shout.
    Oh, that God would listen to me!
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.
I think of God, and I moan,
    overwhelmed with longing for his help. Interlude

You don’t let me sleep.
    I am too distressed even to pray!
I think of the good old days,
    long since ended,
when my nights were filled with joyful songs.
    I search my soul and ponder the difference now.
Has the Lord rejected me forever?
    Will he never again be kind to me?
Is his unfailing love gone forever?
    Have his promises permanently failed?
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.”
11 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. Interlude

16 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.

Psalm 77 NLT

Historical Background

This is a prophecy from when the Babylonians invaded Judah. Jeduthun was King Josiah’s seer, or prophet, as well as one of the king’s musicians and choir director. In other words, he was the leader of the worship team at the temple. King Josiah was one of the good kings.

Pastor Sandy Adams elaborates…

It (Psalm 77) asks the same question as the book of Habakkuk. Recall the Prophet Habakkuk was confused. Why would God judge His people with a nation more wicked? It just didn’t make sense to Habakkuk.

We clear a huge hurtle in our relationship with God when we realize His ways aren’t always guaranteed to make sense. God has a good curve ball, and change up, and He’ll use either pitch at any point in the count. There are times when God deliberately works in ways that don’t make sense to me – to test my faith. Do I trust Him where I can’t trace Him? Can I obey in the dark? Do I follow my own sense of reason, or God?

In the first four verses, Asaph is so distressed he can’t sleep.

Pastor Sandy Adams

Have you ever been so distressed or felt far from God that you can’t sleep?

Of course you have. I couldn’t sleep the other night. Sometimes, I lie down and can’t fall asleep. Other times I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and I can’t go back to sleep. Until, I keep repeating Psalm 4:8...

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.

Psalm 4:8 NLT

Or…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

Obviously, our problem as humans is that we try to depend on the understanding from our human minds and there’s no way that we can ever figure God out completely. For instance…

Why Would God save some people and not others?

Why wouldn’t He keep his promises? Why do some situations end with a miracle and some in tragedy? Why, God, why? We can ask God these questions and even yell at him like some of the psalmists do. Yet, we must remember that He told us…

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT

If you feel far from God, it’s you who moved. For…

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 13:8 NLT

Where is Jesus in this Psalm?

The psalmist wondered if God’s promises had failed (Psalm 77:8). His current experience didn’t match what he’d heard God had done for others. But the psalmist chose not to let God’s silence be his final word to him. Instead, the psalmist remembered what God did in the past as the best indication of God’s plans for his future.

When Jesus was dying on the cross, he quoted from a psalm similar to this one and asked why God had abandoned him (Matthew 27:46, Psalm 22:1). But unlike the psalmist who lived, Jesus died. Just when all hope seemed lost, Jesus rose from his grave after three long days of divine silence. Like God was to Israel, Jesus rose to become an all-powerful shepherd. Jesus has split open death. He turns graves into dry ground. And Jesus leads the dying from the bottom of their coffins to new and eternal life.

This is God’s final word to his people. There is no suffering or silence, power or pain that can separate us from God’s rescuing power and resurrection love (Romans 8:38-39). So like the psalmist, we can always remember that God’s love is measured by his cross and his power is measured by his resurrection. God’s current silence is not God’s last word to us; Jesus is.

Spoken Gospel

Have YOU strayed from the Good Shepherd?

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Same God


Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be The Glory!

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