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Bible Commentaries

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Psalms 77

 

 

Verses 1-20

Psalm 77:1-20

Psalm 77:1-20 :

I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me ( Psalm 77:1 ).

Now notice in the seventy-seventh psalm how the first part of it is centered around I. You might find it beneficial to underline every time he refers to my or I. The whole first part centers around I. "I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice. And He gave ear unto me."

In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search. Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favorable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? ( Psalm 77:2-9 )

When my attention is always on myself, I do lose that consciousness of God and it does seem that I am apart from Him.

And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings ( Psalm 77:10-12 ).

And now he gets turned around in verse Psalm 77:12 , as he begins now to refer to God, "Thy work and Thy doings." And thus, the psalm ends in a brighter note than it begins, because now the emphasis is taken off of me and put upon God.

How many times they say prayer changes things, and I believe this, but how many times prayer changes me and changes my attitudes. While I"m in prayer, God is working and changing my heart and my attitude.

We had a friend in Huntington Beach who was an alcoholic. And the family was always in an uproar. He would get to drinking and just everything would break lose. And there were always the threats of divorce and threats of everything. So one night, the doorbell rang. I went to the door, and here he stood. And he said, "I need help. My wife is going to leave me. My family doesn"t love me. And I just had a big fight, tore the phone off of the wall and all. And I need help. I need God. But there is no one who will pray me through." Well, I didn"t know what he meant to pray him through, what he was trying to pray through. He said, "No one will just pray with me long enough." And so I accepted that as a challenge. So I said, "Let"s go over to the church." We were living right next door to it at the time. And I said, "I will pray with you just as long as you need prayer."

So he went over, we went over together, actually, and of course he smelled like a brewery itself. And we knelt down and he began to pray. I knelt beside him and I began to pray. But I was listening to his prayer. And it was, "Oh God, You know how they haven"t been treating me right. You know, Lord, how they are so mean to me, and they don"t understand me." It was just, "Lord, You know them and how bad they have been," and so forth. And he went on for an hour telling the Lord how bad the family was and how mistreated he was and how unfortunate and everything. And after an hour I noticed there came a change in the prayer. "God, my life is really messed up. Lord, I haven"t been serving You. I know I should serve You. God, I am sorry that I haven"t been serving You, and I have failed You, God. And I repent, Lord, and I am sorry." And I thought, "All right, now we are getting somewhere." We finally have prayed through, and I found out what his praying through all of the garbage that he had in his heart towards the family. Now he began to deal with the issues of his own heart. And after about an hour of praying this way, then his prayers changed again, and they were sort of, "Oh Lord, I thank You for Your help. Lord, I thank You that You love me. Lord, I thank You. Father, thank You." And then pretty soon he was sleeping.

So I went back to the office and got a blanket and I covered him and I went home. And when I got home, my wife said, "Well, how did it go?" And I said, "Well, I don"t know for sure, but I left him sleeping in the Lord." And I relayed to her how there was an obvious change in the whole tone of his prayer which sounded good. Next morning I went over to the church and he was already gone, so I still didn"t know how it went. But that evening at five o"clock, the doorbell rang again, and there he was spruced up suit, looking great, and he says, "What time does church start this evening anyhow?" God did a real work, a change in his life. But it was when he got his eyes off of himself and onto God that God began to work.

And that is always true. We need to get our eyes off of ourselves, off of our situation, off of our problem. We are so self-centered. And it"s usually reflected so much in our prayers, "I, I, I, I, I, me, me, me." But when we can get our eyes off of ourselves and begin to focus on God, that is when God can really work.

Before I was born, my cousin died of spinal meningitis, who lived just two blocks away from my family in Ventura, or from where my family was building their new home. And my sister evidently was exposed by her cousin, and she too had spinal meningitis, and for all apparent signals had died. She had gone into convulsions, her eyes rolled back in her head, her jaw locked, she ceased breathing. My mother had been a lifelong Baptist. But on the way to the Baptist church, she was passing by a Pentecostal church where she used to sometimes stop in and enjoy their services and didn"t make it always to the Baptist church, because it was two blocks further up the street. And when she saw her little daughter lying there in that rigid position, she knew it was too late for doctors to help, and she went running up the street to this Pentecostal church, because she knew that they knew how to really pray. The parsonage was next door to the church and she went up and rapped on the door, and when the minister came, she held her daughter. She was hysterical and she said, "My baby, my baby. I need God to heal my baby." And so she laid my sister"s stiff body on the floor and as she was just really hysterically crying out to the Lord, the pastor, Dr. Mitzner, said to her, "Young lady, get your eyes off of your baby and get your eyes on Jesus, and just begin to worship Jesus and praise the Lord."

My father had come in from the pool hall, where he spent most of his time. And when my mother wasn"t there... they were living in a hotel while their home was being built, the Fasno Hotel there in Ventura. He said to some people in the lobby, "Have you seen my wife?" And a nurse said, "Yes, Mr. Smith. Your little girl, I think, is dead, and she went running up the street I think to the church." And so my dad took off for the church, intending to beat up on the minister and grab his daughter and get her to some competent help. But when he saw her lying there, he realized that she was beyond man"s help, and he just fell down on his knees and began to cry out to God. The pastor kept encouraging my mother, "Get your eyes off of your little girl. Get your eyes on the Lord." And she began to turn her eyes upon the Lord. She began to worship the Lord and she said, "Lord, if You will just give me my little girl back again, I will give my life to You. I will serve You the rest of my life. I will minister; I will do anything You ask me to do, God. I"ll be Your servant the rest of my life, but give me my daughter back." And with that, my sister regained consciousness, was instantly healed completely. They took her home, and she was just laughing and just completely well.

Two months later, I was born in the Big Sisters Hospital in Ventura. When the doctors came in and told my mother, "You have a baby boy," she closed her eyes and said, "Lord, I will fulfill my vow to You through my son." My dad went down the hallway of the hospital saying, "Praise the Lord. It"s a boy!" And so I grew up in a godly environment.

But the importance of getting your eyes off of yourself and on the Lord. How it changes the whole situation. I"ll tell you, you get your eyes on yourself and your surrounding circumstances and you can go down fast. There is no quicker way to sink than to get your eyes on the waves and on your surrounding circumstances, upon yourself. But you get your eyes upon the Lord and you can walk on water.

So the psalmist began, eyes on himself. "I, I, me, my, me, I, I." But then he turns in the middle of the psalm and now the attention is towards the Lord. And thus, the psalm ends in a note of victory.

Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook. Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron ( Psalm 77:14-20 ).

So turning the situation around. Get your eyes off of yourself and get your eyes on the Lord, and you"ll come in to the victory. "

 


Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.

Bibliography Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 77:4". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/psalms-77.html. 2014.

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