The Journey of Unanswered Questions: Psalm 77

Today’s Sunday Psalms entry is written by Timothy Tennent.

Psalm 77 (NIV)

I cried out to God for help;
    I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
    at night I stretched out untiring hands,
    and I would not be comforted.

I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
    I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing;
    I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
    the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
    My heart meditated and my spirit asked:

“Will the Lord reject forever?
    Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
    Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
    Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”

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.
12 I will consider all your works
    and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

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.

Sing this psalm with the Seedbed Psalter today! Visit the resource here.


Psalm 77 is a great example of how singing the psalms takes us on a journey. Asaph, as we have seen, is not afraid to raise some very troubling, poignant questions that inevitably surface in the journey of life. Has God forgotten me? Has his loving-kindness ceased? Have his promises come to an end? Has he forgotten to be gracious? Has he withdrawn his compassion from me? (see vv. 7–9). When faced with these kinds of questions, and the sleeplessness and agony that the first part of the psalm depicts, a choice is laid before us. Are we going to lose faith and turn away from God, or are we going to reaffirm our faith by remembering and trusting who God is in spite of what we are feeling? This is the journey the psalmist takes us through—a choice of determined remembrance of God’s mighty acts that renews faith and brings that beautiful assurance in verse 19: “Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.”

The psalmist in his day had the mighty deliverance of the Passover and exodus to look back on and recount; how much more we Christians have! Even in the darkest of times, we are reminded that Jesus Christ conquered death itself, that Jesus trampled over death and brought us through that darkness into new life. This is the journey that Psalm 77 provides—the gift of remembrance that assures us that God has not forgotten us, nor has his loving-kindness ceased. His footprints are in the troubled sea with us, even when we cannot see them.

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

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