How Firm a Foundation
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Introduction: Psalm 77 describes a time in Asaph’s life when he felt deserted by God. No matter how often he prayed or how long he cried out, the Lord seemed to be far away. He tried to remedy the situation by asking a series of questions but to no avail. Relief came only after he focused on the nature of God and His work on behalf of His people as a whole throughout history. Though he did not personally participate in leaving Egypt for the Promised Land, Asaph appropriated the promises of God to His people as a whole and was thus reassured of God’s nearness once more.
01. Even though God is always present, he can seem like He is absent and we may be at a loss to determine why this is so.
02. Those who experience spiritual desertion can become confused in their thinking about God, yet some questions still need to be addressed.
03. If we cannot find relief by recalling God’s many graces in our own lives, then we must think deeply about the works of God over time, even centuries ago.
04. By focusing on the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, we can be assured that God will keep His promises to His people even if we don’t experience certain blessings in this lifetime.
1. How does Asaph’s situation in Psalm 77 differ from his situation in Psalm 73? If Asaph is not guilty of any particular sin in Psalm 77, what does this suggest about our own struggles with the seeming “absence” of God?
2. What is meant by God’s infinity? How can God be present and absent at the same time? To ensure that your answer is not merely theoretical, read verses 2-4 and note the physical toll this took on Asaph. Have you ever been so concerned with the Lord’s ways that you too experienced physical ailments?
3. If you were having a conversation with Asaph, how would you respond to his questions in verses 7-9? Why is it easier to address such questions when one is not experiencing a spiritual crisis? What does it mean to “preach to ourselves”?
4. Why was it important for Asaph to focus on the work of God among His people during the Exodus? How could this event have had any real application for Asaph so many centuries later? What is the central event that Christians should focus upon in their times of need? In what way is this event superior to the deliverance of God’s people from Egypt?
5. Though this psalm focuses on looking at God’s work in history, it is also important for Christians to look ahead. Read Hebrews 11 and note the driving force that future faith plays in the lives of believers.
For further reading: Spiritual Desertion, by Gisbertus Voetius & Johannes Hoornbeeck (Baker Academic, 2003).