In Psalm 77, Asaph is in crisis. He is crying to God, trusting that God still hears him. He’s praying through the night, but still feeling weak and distressed. Peace just isn’t coming.
Peace used to come. What about this time? Have God’s promises come to an end? Has his faithful love ceased? Has God finally forgotten? (vv7-9)
Oh, the enemy storms in with lies just when we are weak. Asaph knows that. So, how does he fight the despair and the hopelessness?
He remembers God’s works.
He remembers his ancient wonders.
He remembers what God has done in the past.
He remembers God’s character.
One of Asaph’s specific “rememberings” was the account of God leading Moses and his people through the Red Sea, and through the wilderness. But Asaph lived hundreds and hundreds of years after these events! The only way he could know about God’s wonders in that time, was by knowing God’s Word, God’s Law. Asaph did not just rely on his personal experience. He devoted himself to knowing God through His Word, and then believing that God’s Word was true, despite the enemy’s lying attack (or his own personal doubts and despair).
Just as God does not change like shifting shadows (James 1), His Word also does not change. “Lord, your word is forever, it is firmly fixed in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89 CSB) Just as Asaph relied on God’s Word to “speak truth” and to encourage his soul in crisis, so can we.
But here’s the catch – I have got to be in the Word in order to remember in crisis. “If your instruction had not been my delight, I would have died in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for you have given me life through them.” (Psalm 119:92,93 CSB). The instruction had to already be his delight; he couldn’t ‘never forget’ something he had never learned . . .
I know that I sound like a broken record, but I cannot stress enough the necessity of being in God’s Word, of reading, meditating, (yes) memorizing, and actually doing what God says. The crisis will come; temptation will dangle in front of you; weakness will set in; despair will happen. We live in a broken world. But God has not abandoned us here to fend for ourselves. He has mercifully given us His Word, and His Holy Spirit to “. . .remind you of everything I [Jesus] have told you . . .” (from John 14:26 CSB)
It’s just much tougher to remind someone of something they have never learned . . .just sayin’ . . .