Psalm 77 - Waiting On God on a SOLID FOUNDATION
Please read the Psalm.
This Psalm addresses some of our hottest and most urgent issues.
First of all, we need to learn to "wait on God". The Psalmist speaks of "lifting his hands" to God - all through the watches of the night. This is a new concept for most Christians. They've HEARD about it. And they may know people did it in bible times. But to actually TAKE TIME waiting on God, perhaps even "wrestling with the Lord" like Israel did, and ultimately yielding to Him in joy and peace - this is not our way.
We have REAL TROUBLE with the concept of yielding - and understandably so. Change is very traumatic. We don't really want to change. We want God to hear us. But our left brain has set patterns how to cope with stuff. Shaking that up can result in a good form of "depression". Not all depression is unpleasant, by the way. We sense we've lost control and that God is taking control.
We tend to HATE that. We'd rather live with the old familiar pain than trust His Love. The more insecure someone is the more visceral their reaction will be.
That's why God pours out His Spirit on us. It's far better to be carried on a powerful wave of blessing than to have to go through uncertainty - and possibly many tears and serious depression. God wants to lift us above all that - with HIMSELF.
So the Psalmist isn't passive. He has his hands raised in supplication. If you were there you would have seen him and heard him with his impassioned pleas. It's like Gethsemane. When you see plays or movies, Jesus is just sweating it out in quiet submission. But NO. Peter, drowsy witness to it, remembers (with great remorse since he failed to "be there" for Him) that Jesus cried out with "loud cries".
Oh just rip my heart out and trample it on the ground! The thought of Jesus crying out like that tears me up.
But I do understand this. I struggle just like everyone else. And in all this warfare I've only had significant, consistant success when I began to really GO AT IT in supplication or worship and praise. It's the greatest joy of my life. It's the best part of my day. And God is just making it better and better. I mean that. My Lord meets all my needs in amazing ways. I didn't realize one could BE this happy.
But we are not emotion based. Nor are we controlled by our circumstances.
Many who rarely show emotion in their prayers, spend any significant amount of time in praise and worship, or wait on God in a yielded state, CANNOT GRASP THIS.
They ASSUME that just because we're totally ecstatic about Him, crazy in Love with our Lord, dance like a dervish, cry, laugh, shout - whatever - that this means we are emotion based.
I can tell you that at the age of 13 (1969) I was taught by the best Christian historian - maybe the greatest Christian historian of our era - how very SOLID the eye witness testimony of the apostles is.
It was all intellectual. I still wound up under demonic oppression later in my teen years. But it was, and is, a solid foundation. I really believe it takes more faith to NOT believe. And that doesn't even take into account the miraculous matrix of scriptural prophesy - which more than clinches it for me.
So the Psalmist can't see, in the present, that He is anything other than ABANDONED. Only his vital spiritual CONNECTION with God helps in the present. So he wisely takes his stand on the GREAT THINGS HE KNOWS GOD DID.
The destruction of the Egyptian Army was a simple historical fact in his era. The local nations were aware of it. The Passover was the Jewish equivilent of the eyewitness testimony of Jesus' death and resurrection we have from the apostles.
As the young men I mentor go HIGH in praise and worship, and then are plunged into depression when life beats them senseless from time to time, I counsel them to take their stand on the SOLID FACT: Jesus Lives! HE is RISEN! We have the eyewitness testimony of the apostles and the amazing miraculous matrix of scriptural prophesy.
Several other things are worth noting:
1. Our worship and praise ought not be a self oriented, feel good, "bless me" session. I dance in praise and exultation OF HIM. Yes I feel loved. Yes I feel intensely euphoric. But my focus is on HIM. I want to please MY LORD. It's just a byproduct of all that - all the comfort, joy, and euphoria of being crazy in love.
The CROSS - seeing Jesus in the passion of His Suffering Love for us - and His mighty RESURRECTION is the main focus of our praise.
This puts us ON THE ROCK.
2. We celebrate HIS COVENANT. Our Lord binds Himself to us in a covenant. What is a covenant? Essentially, he WEAKENS HIMSELF, by submitting Himself to HIS OWN PROMISES TO US. We aren't saved one day and unsaved the next.
As someone just posted on our web page:
"How dare you think your sin is greater than the love of God!"
So we are not unstable and emotion based.
3. The combination of these TWO THINGS:
A. A passionate, expressive RELATIONSHIP with God that transforms our lives and our fellowship into something COMPELLINGLY ATTRACTIVE - especially as we YIELD to him and WAIT ON HIM - sometimes together and sometimes alone.
B. Resting in the HISTORICAL CHRISTIAN FAITH - built on the foundation of the APOSTLES - which causes us to DISCIPLINE OURSELVES, seek REAL TRANSFORMATION rather than an emotional high, and live as good SOLDIERS OF CHRIST - all about HIM and not SELF.
These two things will cause an EXPLOSIVE REVIVAL.
Without the beauty of what we have together IN HIS LOVE we could not reach the world with the gospel. Without the discipline we have in our HISTORICAL CHRISTIAN FAITH, we'd bring DIVISION in the body - needless controversy - and destroy God's work with our own two hands.
Keep what you see in Psalm 77 before your eyes all the time.
1. Pray passionately, with your hands stretched out to God, through all the watches of the night - as the need may prompt.
2. Rest in Him - in the FACTS! All power in HEAVEN and on EARTH belongs to HIM!
It's good to see you here again brother. Once again you have blessed us with an excellent spiritual writing. Blessings to you and yours ~Hoyle (aka: Tch).
Written/blogged/composed/compiled in your unique style that only you could have done. The result is brilliant God inspired word. Thanks; glad to have you blogging again and the wait was worth its weight in gold.
I'm a fan of Paul Maier. He's a strong proponent of HISTORICAL CHRISTiANITY - and avoiding the "high octane" but volatile and unstable world of emotional movements - though they may have a strong appeal.
I agree with both sides (as usual)
I like real revival - with tears, shouts of joy, and a powerful appeal since people crave God's presence - not our clever speech.
But we need to be grounded in the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus.
Thanks for your service - you men of God. I'm amazed at your faithfulness.
I'm blogging here so that I will be faithful in my study of scripture. I'll share what the Lord shows me. But I'm wanting to be a student of the Word and have God change ME.