Have you ever gotten in trouble because you forgot something? Right after our first son Nicholas was born I was trying to be a good and supportive husband and I went to pick up some medication for Sarah. I’m pretty sure we had been home for less than 24 hours and she was exhausted. As a side note, the fact that women give birth has to be the most amazing thing. Ever. You ladies deserve all kinds of awards for that.
So anyway I’m at the drive-thru at the Pharmacy picking up her prescription and the pharmacist gives me a funny look because obviously, I’m not a “Sarah.” So I tell him I’m her husband, she just had our first baby, and I’m doing the good husband thing, getting her medicine, and he asks me “What’s her date of birth?”
I said “ummmmmmm June 2nd?”
He replied “Nope.”
Me: “Ahhhhhhh June 1st?”
Pharmacist: “You’re digging yourself deeper man.”
Me: “June 4th?”
Pharmacist: “There you go!”
I forgot my wife’s birthday and embarrassed myself in front of this random pharmacist. In the spiritual realm, we often forget what God has done for us, and consequently we miss out on amazing help. But Psalm 77:11-12 has a helpful reminder for us.
I will remember the LORD’s works;
yes, I will remember your ancient wonders.
I will reflect on all you have done
and meditate on your actions.
Throughout the Bible, we are told to remember, and here in Psalm 77, Asaph is intentionally remembering what God had done for his people because we as humans are prone to forget. John Piper said, “One of the great enemies of hope is forgetting God’s promises.” So what I would like to propose is remembering past works ignites future faith.
If we are going to grow in our walk with God and experience hope and faith in difficulties we must take time to consciously and intentionally look back on what God has done. In these two little verses, Asaph showcases 4 different attributes, characteristics, and works of God to stir up his faith for the future. So, let’s allow this meditation of Asaph to inform how we remember God.
REMEMBER GOD’S HOLINESS
Psalm 77:33 God, your way is holy.
What god is great like God?
Asaph is reminding us of God’s holiness. Often when we think about holiness all we think about is “separation from things that are bad.” While it includes that it is so much more than that. Think of holiness as “wholeness,” which is actually where our English word “holiness” comes from. Holiness is the perfection of all that is good.
Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that God is just this better version of ourselves that always makes the right decision. But the truth is He can’t even be compared to what we are. But God is not simply a better version of us, who always does the right thing. He is in a unique category of his own. That is why Asaph goes on to say “who is as great as our God?” Nobody.
1 Samuel 2:2 No one is holy like the Lord, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.
Because God is wholly different than we are, and he is the perfection of all that is good we can trust Him! Remembering the fact that there is no fault in Him whatsoever, he is wholly pure, wholly just, wholly loving, wholly merciful, and wholly true. Meditating on that will stir up our hearts and build our faith so that no matter what we are facing we can go forward in complete and total confidence because God is holy. Remembering God’s Holiness ignites future faith.
The next attribute Asaph brings to his remembrance is God’s power.
REMEMBER GOD’S POWER
Psalm 77:14-19 You are the God who works wonders;
you revealed your strength among the peoples.
With power you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
The water saw you, God.
The water saw you; it trembled.
Even the depths shook.
The clouds poured down water.
The storm clouds thundered;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
The sound of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
lightning lit up the world.
The earth shook and quaked.
Your way went through the sea
and your path through the vast water,
but your footprints were unseen.
Using divine warrior imagery, Asaph declares that cosmic upheaval accompanies God’s presence, and creation exults in worship before Him. The Lord’s arrows refer to lightning bolts. The storm language depicts God’s control over all of nature’s forces. A few years ago, I went on a hike in Yosemite up to a place called Taft Point. The elevation at Taft Point is 7,500 feet. As I was standing on the edge of Taft Point looking down a 3,500-foot cliff I was blown away. I thought “God spoke this into existence.” When you are standing on top of a mountain, or on the edge of the ocean, you get this sense of how small you really are in this world. And as Christians, that feeling takes on an entirely new dynamic because we believe that God spoke all of this into existence with a breath. The power of God created these places using all the forces of nature. God is the author and designer and creator of this place.
In verse 19 Asaph is referring to Israel’s procession through the parted water of the Red Sea, he recalls the mysterious work of the Lord, who was unseen yet present. When you Psalms likes this you get a glimpse of the power that our God has and it produces in us a sense of awe and wonder. When he speaks all the forces of nature move.
When was the last time you stopped and thought about the power of God and how it is working for your good? The next time you get overwhelmed by your circumstances, instead of running them over and over in your mind meditate on God’s power. When you feel weak lean on God’s power.
REMEMBER GOD IS OUR REDEMPTION
Psalm 77:15 With power you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
Asaph remembers how God has redeemed His people. Selah was a word that was used to indicate a pause in the music to stop and meditate on what was just said. It’s like saying “God saved you. Let this sink for a moment.” A. W. Tozer said, “Every ransomed man owes his salvation to the fact that during the days of his sinning God kept the door of mercy open by refusing to accept any of his evil acts as final.”
In college, I was having a bad day one time, and apparently, it was pretty obvious by my facial expression. I had a friend who saw me and asked “Nick, are you saved?” To which I responded “Yes….” Then he said, “Then tell your face!” Sometimes we need to tell more than just our face, we need to let that sink into our hearts and it will affect your face. It will affect everything.
Remembering God has saved you will ignite your faith like little else. I mean if God can save you, transform you from life unto death if He can change your eternal destiny, can He not be trusted with your tomorrow? Think about how your own life would be different if you were constantly overwhelmed by the goodness and greatness of God? A life that has faith for the future is a life that remembers the wonders of the past. Not stuck in the past, but celebrates the goodness of God.
Don’t forget to remember.
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THRIVING IN EXILE
The book of 1 Peter tell us that we are strangers and exiles. This world is not our home. We are now priests in God’s kingdom. Part of our role as priests is to point others to Jesus through the way we will live our lives-especially in suffering. When we anchor our hope to Jesus we can show people in our lives a better way to live. One that rises above fear with the unshakable confidence that comes from being secure in Christ. Living for eternity today gives others hope for tomorrow. Thriving In Exile will walk us through the book of 1 Peter and show how we can live holy lives that point people to Jesus while we navigate our own suffering.