Bible in a Year – Day 178: Hope from the Past
They say that those who don’t remember their past are bound to repeat it. I think it could also be said that those who remember the positives from the past have hope of repeating them. Such is the case in Psalm 77.
The song begins with a pretty negative tone:
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. (Psalm 77:1-2)
The psalmist goes on to write about songs he sang in the past – and pretty miserable songs at that. Then comes the turning point – the revelation that there is more to God than what we can see and that, indeed, God has proven himself time and time again:
Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” (Psalm 77:10-12)
In remembering the past, the psalmist expresses hope for the future and a recognition that God has come through for his people before. At the same time, there is an implied recollection of the fact that the rescue of the people of Israel from the hands of the Egyptians came only after years of slavery.
In other words, the people of Israel went through the same types of struggles as we find in the first half of Psalm 77 before they could ever experience the kind of joy written about in the second part of the song.
It is no different for us. We long for healing and restoration, for reconciliation and freedom. But healing is preceded by sickness and disease – restoration by brokenness. Reconciliation is preceded by alienation and freedom by slavery and imprisonment. The things we long for are preceded the things we dread.
And it will be that way until God ultimately restores his creation. And so, if you find yourself living out the first half of Psalm 77, just remember, the last half has happened before and it will happen again.
- TED Talk Tuesday: In Search of the Man Who Broke My Neck
- Bible in a Year – Day 352: How About Jew?
- Bible in a Year – Day 351: Slave Friends
- Bible in a Year – Day 342: Two Fruits
- Bible in a Year – Day 341: Remember?
- Bible in a Year – Day 313: A Matter of Life & Death
- Bible in a Year – Day 310: Going Where People Are
- Bible in a Year – Day 309: Taboo
- Bible in a Year – Day 289: Gadarenes Part 2
- Bible in a Year – Day 288: Healing Time*