By Stuart Powell
Asaph son of Berechiah was a Levite musician (1 Chronicles 15:17) credited with writing Psalm 77. He lived in the time of Israel’s prosperity under Kings David and Solomon. Yet this psalm laments a time of pain in his life. The psalm begins with his petitions for help from a seemingly distant God. Asaph didn’t detail the source of his difficulty but described how he suffered most when, as he said, “my strength leaves me” (v. 3), “during the night” (v. 6), and when he felt cut off from God (v. 9).
In those times, Asaph sought God, who alone could heal his pain. The psalm details his quest for Divine intervention to bring relief from the difficulties of his circumstances. He sang of how he rediscovered God’s presence.
We all face times when life weighs heavy on us . . . when our sinfulness seems to drive a wedge between our aching heart and God’s compassion. Like Asaph, we are tempted to give up on God. To combat that, we must follow Asaph’s example by reminding ourselves of God’s faithfulness and mercy. Asaph wrote,
“I will remember the works of the Lord.
Yes, I will remember the amazing things you did long ago.
I will think about all you have done;
I will reflect upon your deeds”
(Psalm 77:11, 12, New English Translation).
Asaph looked back in amazement at God’s deeds.
Every believer has at least one moment when God stepped into our lives and amazed us with his love. We should reflect on that.
It is likewise invaluable to look back in amazement when we come around the Lord’s table. No act of God was more astonishing than Jesus’ sacrifice. No historical event should hold greater prominence in our memory than the suffering of our Lord—whips, thorns, nails, and spear—for the sin of humanity.
Think about that amazing act of courage and mercy when you eat from the loaf. Reflect on the amazing cleansing available through Jesus’ blood when you drink from the cup. Remember God’s long-ago deed on that cross. Our time at the table today should call us to reflect on the cross while reassuring us of God’s unending faithfulness to the body of Christ.
Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.