Monday, September 20, 2010

Psalm 77 and a couple of thoughts

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.

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:
The Psalmist is not afraid to ask the hard questions.  He openly repeats the doubts that he had:

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?"
This marks a shift, and we begin to understand why the psalmist, writing in the past tense, was able to write this whole psalm.  The questions and uncertainty are not the whole picture.
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.
Now he switches from talking about "the LORD" to a personal "You".  This psalm takes him from talking about God to talking to God.  This transition was not necessarily automatic - it was the result of intentionally remembering God's constant character and works.  This is something from which I am trying to learn. 

12 I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds."
"I will".  This is intentional prayer.

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. 
 Wrapped up in meditating on God's goodness, he describes in joyful detail an event which, although he did not witness it, still shapes his view of God.  Is this not how we as Christians should meditate upon all of scripture?

From your experience, do you have any techniques for remembering that you would like to share?

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