Summary: Discouragement is the common cold of emotions. Eventually it affects us all. Elijah, God’s iron man of the Old Testament became so discouraged that he sat down under a juniper tree and prayed to die. According to Mark 8:12, even Jesus himself often “sighe
Opening Statement: Can you believe that the beginning of another school year is just around the corner? For some, it’s already begun. Where has another summer gone so quickly? My kids have often reminded me in the last few days that school is only a week away and their feelings of discouragement are evident on their faces.
Connection: Discouragement is the common cold of emotions. Eventually it affects us all. Elijah, God’s iron man of the Old Testament became so discouraged that he sat down under a juniper tree and prayed to die. According to Mark 8:12, even Jesus himself often “sighed” deep within his spirit. Paul had so many difficult experiences in Asia that according to 2 Corinthians 1:8 he, “despaired even of life.”
Illustration: One pastor has noted that many of the world’s and the church’s greatest leaders have been given to despair. Winston Churchill confessed that he was often, “hounded by the black dog of despair.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon, one of the greatest preachers since the Apostle Paul fought continually bouts of depression as a result of gout that finally killed him at age 58.
Transition: If you are discouraged in your life it may help to know that the Psalmist understood and wrote about it in Psalm 77.
Title: Life Lessons for Those who Want to Move from Despair to Peace (The Psalmist shows us how to do it)
Text: Psalm 77
Background: Psalm 77 is a Psalm that helps all of us regain perspective on life by offering to us some life lessons that reestablish our spiritual and mental equilibrium. These lessons come from Asaph, one of King David’s choir directors. After reading this psalm, I’m convinced that Asaph, the choir-director, could have also easily been Asaph, the pastor who had learned to overcome discouragement. This Psalm was more than likely set to music and used in the Temple worship services.
Observation: The man we meet in this Psalm bore all the marks that would today be diagnosed as depression. He was looking at life through dark colored glasses. He felt forgotten and forsaken by God. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t articulate his thoughts because of emotional exhaustion. He was tired all the time. He lived in the past longing for a day that had passed by. He remembered when he was happy and had a song in his heart, but no more, and he couldn’t seem to get back there no matter how hard he tried.
Key Word: One author, Chip Ingram, has noted SIX LIFE LESSONS from this Psalm.
My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud;
My voice rises to God, and He will hear me.
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.
When I remember God, then I am disturbed;
When I sigh, then my spirit grows faint. Selah.
You have held my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I have considered the days of old,
The years of long ago.
I will remember my song in the night;
I will meditate with my heart,
And my spirit ponders:
Will the Lord reject forever?