Summary: 1-2. Importunate prayer. 11-15. Meditating upon the works and wonders God. 16-20. Remembering our salvation history.
WHO IS SO GREAT AS OUR GOD?
PSALM 77:1. “I cried unto God with my voice.” This sounds like one persistent prolonged or repeated cry. There is an intensity about it that cannot prevent it becoming vocalised, ‘out loud’ (as we say). The mouth utters what the heart is full of (Luke 6:45).
“He answered me.” The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (cf. James 5:16). Importunity gets results. ‘Shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them?’ (Luke 18:7).
PSALM 77:2. “In the day of my trouble I sought the LORD.” All day long, and into the night, the inconsolable psalmist “stretched out his hand” (N.R.S.V.) to God. This is the posture of prayer, reaching out to God, seeking Him, determined to find Him. ‘Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands to God’ (Psalm 68:31).
When we think, we imagine, that God has withdrawn from us, our first concern is to return to fellowship with Him. So we wrestle on, through all our perplexities and doubts, like Jacob of old, who at last found himself to be a true ‘prince with God’ (as his new name ‘Israel’ translates). ‘For as a prince thou hast power with God and man, and hast prevailed’ (Genesis 32:28).
PSALM 77:11. “I will remember the works of the LORD.” This we must do, for ‘Hitherto hath the LORD helped us’ (1 Samuel 7:12). ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8), so we let our yesterday inform our today and our tomorrow. Our memory of what God has done hitherto informs and instructs our faith in God for the future.
“I will remember THY wonders of old.” Through all his perplexities, doubts and questions, the Psalmist at last turned His meditation toward the LORD Himself. Hereafter the Psalm is addressed directly to God, recalling the salvation history of Israel.
PSALM 77:12. “I will meditate also of ALL thy work.” If we look alone at the work of God in Creation, or the work of God in Providence, these alone are magnificent. But then we might come to the work of Jesus, and what He accomplished, and the work of the Holy Spirit guiding His people. No wonder we sing, ‘How Great Thou Art.’
“And talk of all thy doings.” We meditate on God, who He is, what He has accomplished, what He has done for us. They are wonders to be told, not to be kept secret. When we look on Jesus, and His work upon the Cross, we just cannot remain silent!
PSALM 77:13. “Thy way O God is in the sanctuary.” This is His holy place, where man may meet with God. The turning point for Asaph in another composition is, ‘When I thought to know this it was too painful for me; UNTIL I went into the sanctuary of God’ (Psalm 73:16-17).
“Who is so great a God as our God?”
PSALM 77:14. “Thou art the God that does wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.” The wonder-working God has displayed His power for all nations to see. He will indeed ‘save to the uttermost’ all who come to him through Christ (Hebrews 7:25).
PSALM 77:15. “Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph.” The mighty arm of God, bringing Israel out of Egypt. The outstretched arms of Jesus on the Cross, drawing all men unto Him (John 12:32).
“Selah.” Think on these things. The song is reaching its crescendo.
PSALM 77:16. “The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.” The Red Sea stood back to let the children of Israel pass through upon dry ground (Exodus 14:21-22).
PSALM 77:18. “The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lighted the world: the earth trembled and shook.” When God acts, heaven and earth cannot stand still. There was an earthquake at Jesus’ death (Matthew 27:51), and also at His resurrection (Matthew 28:2).
PSALM 77:19. “Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.” God’s ways are unknown to man, His workings are hidden from our view: but He is always at work, working all things together for good for His people (Romans 8:28).
PSALM 77:20. “You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” The One whose way is in the sea, who smote the Egyptians, is now at last seen to be the Shepherd of Israel. Jesus said, ‘I AM the good shepherd’ (John 10:11).