The Day of Trouble
You can't seriously study the Psalms apart from an awareness of King David's personal trials and difficulties. The King of Israel, "the man after God's own heart..." (see 1 Samuel 13: 14; Acts 13:22), experienced sinful distance from God, family drama, the dangers of wartime, political intrigue, and periods of spiritual darkness. In extended times of frustration and loneliness he repeatedly asked "How long, O Lord...?" (Psalm 13: 1, one example), his plea for endurance and perseverance, for an awareness of God's presence. The weight of life burdened him greatly.
Psalm 77 is one of those mournful hymns. The opening verses set the stage of this particular sorrowful lament---
I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. 2 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. 3 When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah
Psalm 77: 1-3, ESV
But, King David knew something. In moments of crisis he turned to his heavenly Father. Verse 2 is so revealing---"In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord...". Verses four through twenty are then a recitation of God's provision for the King and Israel as they served him. And, yes, there are mentions of the waters and especially the sea---
Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; and your footprints
were unseen. You led your people like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Psalm 77: 19-20, ESV
Yes, King David knew the history of Israel and their miraculous delivery from Egyptian captivity. Being delivered from Egyptian troops at the Red Sea was no doubt the King's reference point. It was perhaps the most memorable occasion of God's intervention in the history of Israel. This morning as I stare at he sea in my dry, warm indoor perch with a view through the sliding glass doors, I am convicted by King David's faithful response to a time of trouble. In that moment of personal crisis, King David remembered the works of God from the past. He countered the question marks of doubt with the firm exclamation points of what God had done in history. He remembered that God's way for Israel when the Egyptian armies were closing in was through the sea.
The Atlantic is beautiful this morning, clear skies overhead, a cold yet calm scene. The currents and wave appear strong however, stretching to the horizon and beyond view. When Israel stood at the edges of the Red Sea, no doubt praying for a miracle, God could have stretched out his hand to deliver them hundreds of ways. This morning I am reminded that his way was through the sea. In times of doubt, or any personal crisis for that matter, I will remember King David's lament about the sea, and remember what the angel said to young Mary---"for nothing will be impossible to God" (Luke 1:37, ESV).
Here is the sea, great and wide...