But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge, I will tell of all your deeds. (Psalm 73:28, NIV)
Consistently as the psalmist praises God, he’ll resolve to tell others of all of His “mighty acts” or “righteous acts” (71:18, 24), or exhort us to “tell of all his wonderful acts… Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced” (105:2, 5).
I used to be really confused as to how to apply these verses in my life. Part of this is due to my own forgetfulness, as I can hardly remember ways in which God has provided for me, or notable signs of him working in my life, let alone the countless testimonies I’ve heard, from churches to my school to reading on the Internet.
These things, despite us basking in the warmth and praising God when we hear about or experience them, fly so easily out of our heads. (This is where journaling or making a log of “PTL’s” can come in, so that the goodness of God is not swept under the covers by the passing of time.)
But when I recently read through Psalm 77 by Asaph, my perspective on God’s mighty acts and miracles changed quite a bit.
Asaph begins the psalm by crying out to God as he suffers and goes through trials. His “heart meditated and [his] spirit asked: Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again?…Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” (v6b-7, 9). He felt so burdened in the present that it led him to wonder at God’s nature.
Continuing down to verse 12, I read “I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds”.
Hmm, I thought. There’s that concept of deeds again.
But in the verses that follow, I found a description of God’s holiness, which was displayed in the days of the Exodus, when He guided them out of Egypt and led them through the Red Sea. I found that Asaph remembered God’s holy nature and the miracles recorded in the Holy Scriptures, these magnificent deeds, these wonders, which were written to show that God had not abandoned his people. In fact, he had saved them, and mightily.
I think Psalm 77 (which, by the way, you should check out in its full form) can lead us to two conclusions:
First, God’s “deeds”, “wonders”, and “acts”, when referenced, can be taken to apply to the ones recorded for us in Scripture (and probably especially so).
I was wondering personally as to what those vague words describing “what God did” meant, and in this psalm I found my answer. Many of us might not have had outstanding miracles happen in our lifetimes, and the thrill of another person’s testimony may go stale within our minds as the months pass, but we can always hold on to the events of the Scriptures and trust in God because of what He did for Israel — and for us.
Second, we can remember God’s wonders of old even when it’s hard to see him in our present circumstances.
This is what Asaph held onto, what he appealed to (v10) in his time of trouble and need. We can follow his example and hold on to what God did for His people back then, because He never changes.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. (Romans 15:4, NIV)
If you’re interested in looking through this a little bit more, Asaph expounds on Israel’s history up until the days of David in Psalm 78. Psalm 105 (referenced in the first paragraph) does not mention a specific author, but also does go on to speak of God’s covenant history with Israel.
There’s your “Further Reading” for this post xD I have a tag coming next week, which is pretty exciting. Comment about the Psalms, what you thought of this post, or anything else 🙂
Photo by Matthew Kosloski