I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah
Psalm 77:1-3, ESV
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Psalm 77:11-12, ESV
Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Psalm 77:19-20, ESV
Psalm 77 expresses a dark time in King David's life. The opening verses are a lament about his "day of trouble" and what was evidently a time of doubt and despair. No one is absolutely certain why his "soul refuses to be comforted", why he moaned when he meditated and even prayed, or what instigated this faintness of spirit. It could have during one of those times when David had sinned grievously and was broken because of his rebellious heart. Nevertheless, he was down.
Two elements of Psalm 77 indicate a turning in his spiritual life at such times. One is to note the word selah interposed in the text several times (after verses 3, 9, and 15). This term, seen throughout the Psalms, is thought to signal a time to pause and reflect, perhaps think about what is being written. The second turning point for David is a action occasioned by the reflection. David wrote, "I will remember the deeds of the Lord..." (v. 11) and "I will ponder all your work..." (v. 12). In that hour of deep spiritual trouble David reflected and remembered.
What he remembered was what many historians and Bible scholars view as the defining moment in the epoch of the Hebrew nation: God's deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea. As a point of study it may be noted that a large number of the sea references in Psalms are specific remembrances of God's parting of the Red Sea. When David mentioned the sea in his Psalms he was most often speaking about that particular sea. And, when he spoke about it this idea flashed through his mind and spirit---
Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters (v. 19).
There's more to the reflection. You see, Israel had a way out of their dilemma at the Red Sea too. They wanted to turn back, to find graves in Egypt rather that die in the wilderness. They didn't think God had a way out for them.
That may have been David's anguish as he penned Psalm 77: he didn't have a way out of this spiritual down time. He seemed alone and disheartened. That is, until he reflected and remembered. And, that reflection and remembrance brought him to the sea again. And, when he thought of the sea---the Red Sea especially---he thought of God's majesty and power, that God had provided Israel a way out.
That's the guidance and direction I needed today, a reminder of the importance of reflecting on and remembering what God has done as a path out of those down times when we may feel alone, abandoned, and without spiritual resources.