Dread Breeds Doxology

When we look at Psalm 77, we behold a man brought to the deepest point of his despair. Perhaps we wouldn’t expect that sort of thing in the Bible, because so often we are told that Christians are always happy. But if you are living soul then you know that such an idea is a farce.

The beauty of the Bible in general, and the Psalms in particular, is that no point of the human emotional spectrum is missing within them. We have both the bliss of joy and horror of tragedy before us. And this psalmist himself in encapsulated by the webs of hopelessness! He finds himself in a situation nearing the point of self-destruction where God is seemingly nowhere to be found. Have you ever felt as if God was nowhere to be found

The psalm, however, does not end in “the valley of the shadow of death,” but advances. The psalmist’s situation remains unchanged, yet his heart is transformed from hopeless to hopeful. How does this happen? Can this happen for us? The psalmist shows us the moment where his dread bred forth doxology, “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember Your wonders of old.” (Psalm 77:11 ESV). The remembrance of the unchanging/immutable character of God changed His world.

What is it that gives you hope today? What is bringing you joy this Christmas season? Even the best sources that we can find on this earth can be taken from us, altered, or destroyed. Perhaps some of you know that well. A toy can be broken. A car can be stolen. A relationship can change. A life can come to an end. But what we notice in the psalmist’s words as we continue is that His hope is found in the unchanging God of the Bible. And this is what makes Christianity so sweet for believers alone – the unchanging God desires to come into our lives and change us for the better.

God’s character is meant to transform our character through His Son by His Holy Spirit. The overall goal of the disciple is simply this: our eyes are to be fixed on God. This is what enables Christians to endure the most heart-wrenching, soul-sapping and joy-obliterating moments of our lives. We are able to take another step through the world’s dark corridors because our greatest strength is always found in the mighty works of our God. This is of course, why we sing about His character and faithfulness.

In addition, this psalm is an implicit call for repentance. Anglican scholar, J.I. Packer writes, “Repentance is a change of mind issuing in a change of life . . . [it’s] a right-face turn and a quick-march in the direction opposite to that in which we were going before. The original direction was the path of self-service, in the sense of treating yourself as God . . . the new direction is saying good-bye [to all that] and embracing the service of God instead.” The Christian life is above all else a call to die to ourselves, and to live unto Christ. God tells us today through this psalm that any direction we march towards other than towards Him is going to be a misdirection, regardless of intentions.

There must be a shift from a self-focused life to a God-focused life, from our individual self-worshiping, self-absorbed stories to God’s great story of salvation in Christ Jesus, the eternal Son of God. The world does not exist to make much of you and me. The world exists to make much of Him. What we need is a radical change of mind, or repentance, where we no longer seek for God to dispense unto us joy, peace and hope, but for God HIMSELF to be our joy, peace and hope.

Where do you find yourself today? Is God your chief goal and desire? Or is He your means to your chief goal, end or desire. The psalmists finds hope in knowing the God of the past who saved Israel, is still the powerful God of the present.

Do you know that God is still as powerful today as He was then? Do you know that Christ came to save His people, the Church, in a way that outshines all of Moses’ doings? Where do you need God to come in and save the day?

Brothers and sisters in the Lord, let us take our eyes off of ourselves and recognize and rest in the mighty hand of our great God. Let us believe that He is mighty and able to save us from what we fear the most, and that His love is better than all others. Let us rest in the hands of God who is worthy of our time, talents and heart. Worship Him with me today!

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