March 25 – Devotion

Date: March 25, 2017

Scripture: Psalm 77

You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples. (Ps. 77:14, ESV)

The Psalms were the songs, indeed the poetry and lyrical history of the people of Israel, an oral tradition of God’s faithfulness. But what about the times when a psalmist doubted God’s presence, when despair clouded the language of praise, when “the good old days” of yesterday seemed but a faint memory? How did a writer resolve those times of questioning?

We get a glimpse of such a situation in Psalm 77. The twenty verses as they appear in English are attributed to Asaph, a somewhat nebulous name that could be an individual charged with the music in the court of King David or a Hebrew term loosely translated “God has gathered.” Regardless of whether it’s employed in a generic or a specific sense, the writer is deeply troubled and compares his current situation with the past. “When I remember God, I moan;/when I meditate, my spirit faints./You hold my eyelids open;/ I am so troubled that I cannot speak” (vs. 3-4, ESV). For whatever reason, the psalmist is so melancholy that he cannot close his eyes to sleep nor can he speak.

Even a psalmist is subject to those times of doubt that take hold in the blackest hours of the night when the promise of dawn seems far away. However, in verse 5, he slowly begins to acknowledge that God is not absent, and he must consciously choose to recall God’s faithfulness. “I said, ‘Let me remember my song in the night;/ let me meditate in my heart’” (ESV). Meditating on God’s faithfulness becomes the precursor to an about-face.

The writer shakes off the season of despair and gives himself a pep talk, asking the questions to which he already knows the answers. “Will the Lord spurn forever/and never again be favorable? Has his steadfast love forever ceased? /Are his promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious? /Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” (vvs. 7-9, ESV). The psalmist knows such is not the case, reminding both himself and his audience that God is ever present and ever faithful. “I will remember the deeds of the Lord;/yes, I will remember your wonders of old. / I will ponder all your work/and mediate on your mighty deeds” (vvs. 11-12, ESV).

One can literally feel the writer’s abrupt change of mood, as he enumerates God’s provision and majesty in the water, the clouds, the crash of thunder and lightning. And then the ultimate remembrance of what God had promised and delivered for the children of Israel: “You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron” (v. 20, ESV). Here is the imagery of the Good Shepherd, as well as the reminder of how God used individuals like Moses and Aaron to accomplish his purposes for His chosen people.
Sometimes, we must shake off the temptation of despair, reminding ourselves of the very nature of God, his mercy and provision in every circumstance of life. There’s a song title in verse 6 that jumped out at me, “My Song in the Night.” If you’re so inclined, you can find and listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s version with orchestral accompaniment and remember that the Lord is our song.

Prayer for the Journey: Lord, give us discerning hearts and minds to remember your goodness, to know that you have never abandoned or forsaken us. Guide us through the darkness of doubt and despair to emerge into the dawn of your unfailing faithfulness.

Prepared by: Janet Lee


4 Responses to “March 25 – Devotion”

  1. Christine Morrow says:

    Thank you Janet that is lovely.

  2. Bob Mohr says:

    Amen

  3. Daphne McLaurin says:

    What a good job of encouraging fellow believers.

  4. Debbie Keen says:

    Thank you for this devotion, Janet! Everyone can use a pep talk from time to time.

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