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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

When Life Get's Tough: Remember God - Psalm 77

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Psalm 77:1-6 "My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud; My voice rises to God, and He will hear me. 2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; In the night my hand was stretched out without weariness; My soul refused to be comforted. 3 When I remember God, then I am disturbed; When I sigh, then my spirit grows faint. Selah. 4 You have held my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 5 I have considered the days of old, The years of long ago. 6 I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, And my spirit ponders."

Introduction: 


Have you ever lost a set of keys or a wallet? What is the one bit of advice people always say to do: retrace your steps. I recall a set of keys that had every conceivable key you could imagine. Included in the set of keys was the only key we had to a vehicle. For two days I searched everywhere without success. On the third morning I went out to check on a snow blower that I knew we were going to be using later that day. Wouldn't you know it, the keys were hanging on the snow blower! They had been there the whole time, I just couldn't see them. I realized that I had them with me the last time I used the machine.

Asaph was the man in the Bible who often found himself asking God questions. I like Asaph because of his honesty. In the dozen psalms credited to his authorship, we find Asaph expressing a deep faith in God because He often found himself experiencing deep troubles in life. He sought God and at times got frustrated. Asaph always found a way to work through his valleys, the dry seasons and those places where it seemed God was absent. In Psalm 77, we find Asaph pouring out his heart.


Summary of today's post:

Remembrance is the path we cut to get back onto continuing in the walk of faith. When the three “d’s” hit, (discouragement, disillusionment, doubt), it is tempting to think God has forgotten us. Only when we take time to remember what God has done will we be ready to see what He is doing right now. Just like Asaph, we can learn how to see better the hand of God in the present moment whenever we reflect on how His hand has been on our lives in times past.

What should I include in my remembrance of God?

1. Remember the songs of faith. Ps 77:1-6

Music is the paintbrush for the soul. Once you have heard a tune - especially a catchy one - its hard to forget. Good Christian hymns or praise songs have the ability to leave their imprint upon you. Hearing a familiar song or humming the tune to oneself can evoke memories of places, scents, people and emotions. 

Hearing a hymn brings back scene of childhood in which I recall sensing God's call on my life in salvation, to make a major decision or to change direction in my life. Asaph speaks of a "song in the night" which was his own. Though he was not hearing the voice of God at that time - He nonetheless had the songs of praise to go by in reminding him of those times He did hear God speak to him.

2. Remember God’s promises (His word). Ps 77:7-10

Asaph is a man that asks penetrating questions to God: "will the Lord reject forever?" (77:7) or "has his promise come to an end forever?" (77:8). A Christian who rarely visits their Bible will find themselves questioning God's character at every turn. The ability to wrestle successfully with doubt is directly proportional to how much time we spend in not only getting into the Bible, but also getting the Bible into us.

3. Remember God’s past works. Ps 77:11-15

Wintertime can leave the impression that no growth is taking place in the trees. After all, there are no leaves, no fruit and no spring-time birds singing in the boughs. But do you know, below the ground those roots are seeking after water? Sometimes in those dry seasons of faith, one must remember what God has done in order to appreciate the deeper work He is doing at the moment. We all love Spring and the other seasons due to the pretty leaves, singing birds and shades of the seasons. 

But do you know? if the roots of that tree do not have the chance to go deeper - the other seasons will deplete them. The winds of spring can topple the tree. The heat of summer can shrivel up the leaves. The impending coldness of Fall causes the leaves to plunge to the ground. All the while, the tree's roots have remained deep in the ground to get whatever water and nutrients they can from the soil. 

So it is in remembering God's works. The roots of faith have a chance to go deeper and to survive the ravages of either internal doubt or the harsh climate of a cynical age.

4. Remember your salvation experience. Ps 77:16-20

Do you have a story to tell of how you were brought to saving faith in Jesus Christ? Even if you don't recall a date or time - there ought to be a sense in which you have two memories: life before Christ and life being lived in Christ by faith. One's conversion to Christ represents base camp for the person climbing the mountain of faith. 

It can get down-right difficult when we have to face sheer-rock walls of frustration or find our lungs aching to breath as we have thinner and thinner air in the higher elevations of the walk of faith. Thankfully, the Christian is not alone. The Christian has the compass of the Bible and a climbing partner called the Holy Spirit. 

Hebrews 6:18 tells us of how Christ Himself is literally like "an anchor for faith", which in our analogy would mean that Christ is already at the top of the mountain, tugging on the rope of faith. When I recall "who I am" and "Whose I am", I find that in so many ways - I'll summit that mountain quicker than I think. Salvation includes the experience of Christian growth in sanctification. The journey of faith is just as vital as the destination.

Closing thoughts:

Thus, the four reasons above provide explaining why it is so important to remember God, as disclosed here in Psalm 77.

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