Psalm 77, a psalm of Asaph, begins with an anguished cry to God.
I cry out to God without holding back. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I pray, with hands lifted toward heaven, pleading. There can be no joy for me until he acts. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. Psalm 77:1-3 (NLT)
Have you ever uttered that same cry? I have and indeed, I believe it is an all too familiar cry that has been echoed down through the ages. Who among us has not experienced a sense of helplessness and utter despair at one time or another which has driven us to cry out in anguish for help?
The Psalmist continues to write about his plight. His trouble has consumed him. He can't sleep, he can't pray. He recalls past days that were filled with joyful songs and now... there are only tears. Where is God? Why has God rejected him? Will he ever find God's favor once again or has God withdrawn His unfailing love? Are God's promises now void, has He slammed the door on His compassion? (Psalm 77:4-9)
These are the questions asked by the Psalmist and these are the very same questions we find ourselves asking as well when we encounter the silence of God. Where is He? Why is He silent? Have we displeased Him? If so, will He forgive us? Will He deliver us? Why doesn't He say something, do something? Why? Why? Why?
The Psalmist resigns himself to his fate. There is no hope. The blessings of God have changed to hatred. (Psalm 77:10) It is over.
Then I recall all you have done,O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about them. Psalm 77:11-12 (NLT)
Then I recall...
Those three words are very important for us to remember for this is exactly what we too must do at this point. We must pause, be still and then recall what God has previously done in our lives.
The Psalmist begins by declaring who God is. In verses 13-15 of Psalm 77 we are told:
The rest of the Psalm, verses 16-20, recounts the crossing of the Red Sea. I love the imagery of verses 16-18.
When the Red Sea saw you, O God, its waters looked and trembled! The sea quaked to its very depths. The clouds poured down their rain; the thunder rolled and crackled in the sky. Your arrows of lightning flashed. Your thunder roared from the whirlwind; the lightning lit up the world! The earth trembled and shook. (NLT)
When I read this passage the other day however, my attention was caught by the next verse.
Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters--a pathway no one knew was there! Psalm 77:19 (NLT)
God could have led the Israelites along several different major trade route between Egypt and Canaan, none of which would have involved crossing the Red Sea but He didn't.He led them to the Red Sea, an obstacle that was impossible to cross andallowed them to be penned in by the Egyptian army. He placed them in a position where only God could provide a way of escape and only God could deliver them from their enemy.
The Israelites needed to remember their stories of God's deliverance and provision and we must do the same. We must also remember and share our own stories so that when it seems like there is no way out... we remember.
Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Uh-oh. I posted the above comment from my iPhone and it posted twice. It seems I can't delete it. Sorry about that. Oh well, I was getting pretty excited when I was writing it so I guess I just had to repeat myself.