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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 77:11

 

 

I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.

Adam Clarke Commentary

I will remember the works of the Lord - I endeavor to recollect what thou hast done in behalf of our fathers in past times; in no case hast thou cast them off, when, with humbled hearts, they sought thy mercy.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 77:11". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-77.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

I will remember the works of the Lord - That is, I will call them to remembrance, or I will reflect on them. I will look to what God has “done,” that I may learn his true character, or that I may see what is the proper interpretation to be put on his doings in respect to the question whether he is righteous or not; whether it is proper to put confidence in him or not. Or, in other words, I will examine those doings to see if I cannot find in them something to calm down my feelings; to remove my despondency; and to give me cheerful views of God.

Surely I will remember thy wonders of old - Thy wonderful dealings with mankind; those acts which thou hast performed which are suited to excite amazement and wonder.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 77:11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-77.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 77:11

I will remember the works of the Lord.

Time past, present and to come

(with Psalms 39:4). We are so made that we live between an unalterable past and an uncertain future, with no time in our possession except that changing line which we call the present. Every present, as we live on, becomes a past; and so we are drawing continually on the future; we are carrying it over to the past in the great account-book of our existence, until the future of this world all becomes a past; and we enter the future of eternity. In this respect though made in God’s image we are unlike Him. For to Him all is one eternal Now. He “inhabiteth eternity.” But to us time in its three stages clings to our very nature and colours all our conceptions. We cannot conceive of God as eternally Now, it is too much for us. Time seems to us to be a power, a something that has life and force in it, though it is nothing apart from the events that make up our lives; nothing but a condition of our thought. It is nothing to the forgetful animal, or to the vacant mind, which looks not forward nor backward. But to a finite soul, born yesterday to die to-morrow, time is everything; and you may say that in proportion to the nobleness of a soul will be the value it sets on time. Compare time with space. Space is nothing but a receptacle to hold material objects, and a room for their activity. It is wholly outside of souls. A man shut up in a chamber ten feet square may fill the world with good thoughts and great plans. But a bird flies across a continent and no trace is left. What has space to do with character? What has time not to do with character?

I. Memory extends our existence backwards. This is the closest analogy in man’s nature to God’s. He can go back far into the past--his own, and that of the world. He can listen, as it were, to the tumultuous waves of chaos. Memory has far more materials to work upon than belong to anticipation or foresight of the future. It is the treasure-house of our experience, and of the experience of mankind. Prediction, indeed, is possible by the help of what the past has afforded us, although the time that the present order of things shall last cannot be predicted. How many great events have happened which a few years before we had no apprehension of. If we had lived ages of agony we should remember them, but we cannot foretaste a distant joy. Memory causes the entire past to bear on our present lives and future destiny, for--

1. It can carry forward the knowledge of past misdeeds through the boundless future. Good deeds, also, it can remember, but the most pressing thought for us as sinners is, that it surely takes with it all our misdeeds. It drops nothing like a careless messenger, but saves all as a trustful steward of God. It can compress our past lives into a moment like the photograph of an immense landscape brought within the compass of an inch. The fact is, we have in us the materials for the judgment day. They lie now piled up in dark chambers; they will be brought from their chests, and their forgotten testimony will shine like fire. The day of judgment is no appointed, instituted thing; it is the necessary sequel of a life of the thinking man under the righteous reign of God. You, then, who sin and forget it, who appear to yourselves far from danger, because you have hid your sin from your own eyes as men hide live coals under the ashes, what will you do when you find these coals to be still alive ages hence, and when they are freed from the rubbish that covered them? Can you make God forget? That would be something to the purpose, were it possible. Can you expect that feelings, such as the sense of ill-desert, which are immutable records of your own against yourself, will be blotted out by time? Even sin, then, has, in a sense, an eternal life. It can never grow old and vanish away.

II. I remark again, however, that there is a wise provision by which, according to the ordinary laws of this life, the events of the past do not stay with us, generally, in all their first vividness, In other words, the actual weaknesses of memory are in part calculated for our moral as well as mental benefit. If we remembered everything as it was when it occurred, such vividness might render impossible a better life. All common sights, sounds, and actions--all such things as make up the mass of events, it is a blessing to have forgotten. This is of vast importance in reference to our spiritual and moral nature. A sincere penitent cannot well forget the great sins he may have fallen into. Yet such a penitent, by keeping in mind past sins with their aggravation, may be prevented from using his active powers. Remorse might reign in our souls to the exclusion of the purpose of amendment. Now, there must be hope and vigour in every mind that successfully strives to amend. Ever brooding on the past brings nothing but despair. The difficulty of a new life is almost hopeless if we remember nothing but past ill success, broken resolutions, and resisted motives to good. It is manifest also that this weakening of the hold of the past on us--owing to the defects of memory, within certain limits--helps on all improvement. Minds of finite capacities, if every past thing was continually fresh, would be full of details without the power of making principles prominent. But when we remember principles, and general strains, and life-currents of action, we can, without the burden of too great details, purpose in view of our past and live for our future. To this it should be added that there is a compromise effected in our nature--so to speak--between the present and the past by the power of recollection. We hunt up stray thoughts by using the laws which associate them with one another. And they also come back without our search. Thus sin becomes its own punishment. We try, but fail, to drown such thoughts.

III. We ought to live for the present as well as for the future. Moralists talk of the present as a point in an endless path, and they represent the future of that path as being alone of importance. But this is not altogether true. To live merely for the present is doubtless ruinous, but to live only for the future is no virtue. What is the future but a run of moments which are to be present, and what worth can there be in any of these, if they are worth nothing while they are with us? It would be as if a man passing through grand scenery should not look on the beauties before his eyes because finer points of view were coming, and he should so act until the journey’s end. If the future always remained future, it would be valueless. But let us test these remarks by scriptural truth. What can trust do--that is worth anything to us--if it cannot lay our interests for the future in the hand of God, and thus prevent the crowd of cares from coming to lodge with us before their time? And does not Christ say, “Take no thought for the morrow, for,” etc.? How unlike is this peace of souls to our feverish haste, our inability to enjoy life until it settles on its dregs; our insurances and provisions against evil; as if each of us were a castle besieged by enemies. Of course our Lord’s meaning is, “be not solicitous for the morrow.” It is anxiety that He condemns, which is the foe of a quiet trust in God. He would have us plan great plans, embracing all the future, as He did Himself; but He wants us also to possess profound peace within our Souls. A life of faith will furnish the only true reconciliation. All progress depends on acting at the right time. You may have known persons who put off work until to-morrow, for the sake of amusement, and when the weight of the past, besides that of the present, came on their backs, it crushed them. Or you may have known those who were too provident, who sought to rob the future of its office, that it might furnish them rest, or better opportunities. But this overtasked them, and wore them out. Neither of these courses is wise; every moment has its rights. This is true in things spiritual as in things temporal.

IV. And thus we discover the significance of future time. Who would desire a never-ending existence such as is one’s now? Who could endure it, except by an act of religious resignation like that of a monk in his cell? And if this be so, why is it so? It is so because it is an essential part of the plan of our earthly condition that it should end. It is not too bold to say that superior being, who knew nothing of our destiny as it respects life and death, would conclude that death ought to be man’s lot, and that he was made to finish his existence in some other sphere. This he would find out as soon as he perceived what man could do, and what his earthly limitations prevented him from doing. Death seems to be the most suitable event for an immortal placed on earth, more suitable for him than for the beast which may have no hereafter. This, then, is the true significance of future time, that, as it unrolls, a great change is to come over us--a change unlike anything in the past. For this futurity, life and death are preparations; it is this that makes life a great something, full of praise or full of shame. It is this that makes the world a theatre for an immortal. For every living man, then, the future has one thing in it wholly unlike in kind all the events of the past. Birth, or man’s entrance into a world of time, was strange; that is the unique event of time gone by. Death, which is called for and made suitable by the whole meaning of life, is the unique event of time to come. And this unique event ought to throw a new power and energy into all our passing moments. I ought to feel that, because I am going to die, I am a privileged person. To what may I not rise? But for this I must be trained in time, and the future, by its one great event, ought to sober me, and train me as much as I could be trained by all the experience of the past. But do I ask, how can the unknown act in me except through my fears? The hope of that future will, and does, influence men. To souls who take in the whole of existence, the great contrast is that of this present time and the eternal life on high. And so habits, characters, choices of action, estimates of pleasure, as well as hopes, are all chastened, ennobled, beautified; they are clothing themselves for the presence of the King eternal, immortal, invisible. And when they hear the death trump calling them to come away, its clang, fearful to so many, turns for them into the voice of celestial music. (T. D. Woolsey.)

Recollection, reflection, and declaration

I. Recollection. “I will remember,” etc. Memory may be regarded in several aspects--

1. As a source of pain. Tennyson has beautifully and truthfully said:--

“A sorrow’s crown of sorrow is remembering happier things.”

And Goldsmith:--

“Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,

Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.”

2. As a source of pleasure. “A memory without blot or contamination,” said Charlotte Bronte, “must be an exquisite treasure,--an inexhaustible source of pure refreshment.”

3. As an aid to faith. So the psalmist uses it on this occasion.

II. Reflection. “I will meditate,” etc. By means of reflection we are enabled to realize the facts recalled by memory, to perceive their significance and applications. And the emotions which naturally spring from the facts remembered are excited by reflection. Recollection is of little worth comparatively, unless accompanied and followed by meditation. It was by the exercise of both these faculties that the troubled heart of the poet grew calm and victorious.

III. Declaration. “I will talk of Thy doings.” A good man, having passed through experiences similar to those of the psalmist, should talk of God’s doings. After his trouble, recollection, and meditation, his talk would be--

1. Intelligent. He would not utter crude or rash statements concerning God and His providence.

2. Trust-inspiring. His own faith would grow stronger as he recounted to others, etc. The faith of those who heard him would also grow as they thought of his conflict, and how he won the victory. (W. Jones.)

I will remember Thy wonders of old.

Wonders remembered

When the Christian takes a retrospect of his spiritual life, there is much that he remembers with gladness, and much that he remembers with sorrow. The lovingkindness of the Lord which has been manifested towards him--upon this memory can dwell with unalloyed delight. But the coldness of his own love, the frequency of his backslidings, the tardiness of his progress--when memory presents these, he is no true believer in Christ if he do not mourn at the recollection.

I. In the first place, we shall speak of the things to be remembered. Now, it would appear, upon an attentive examination of this passage, that the psalmist does not mean to draw a distinction between the works and the wonders of God; but, rather, to state that all God’s works are wonders. “I will remember the works; surely I will remember the wonders.” The latter clause is only an emphatic repetition of the former. The works of the Lord are all wonders. Such is the assertion--an assertion which is to hold good, not merely when the spectacle is presented of some unusual setting forth of the energies of Omnipotence; but when the attention is turned towards those displays of glory and wisdom, which are furnished by the ordinary routine of God’s providence. What we call natural and what we call supernatural--there is full as much of the miraculous in the one as in the other. If we moved on a wider sphere of being and were not shut up within the material framework, we should probably discern that the finger of God is equally active in every occurrence, and that the very name of miracle would hardly find place in our vocabulary. But we wish to speak on spiritual rather than on natural miracle, more especially as the expression, “Thy wonders of old,” seems to point to those purposes of mercy which God from everlasting entertained toward His Church. We need not tie ourselves down to a survey of works which caused the wonder of the psalmist. We enter best into the spirit of the passage by supposing the writer to occupy the same position as is occupied by ourselves, and then reviewing those works which on this supposition would have crowded his retrospect. If we take the individual experience of the Christian, of what is that experience made up: Of wonders. The work of his conversion, wonderful!--arrested in a course of thoughtlessness and impiety; graciously sought, and gently compelled to be at peace with God, whose wrath he had provoked. The communication of knowledge, wonderful!--Deity and eternity gradually piled up; the Bible taken page by page, and each page made a volume which no searching can exhaust. The assistance in warfare, wonderful!--himself a child of corruption, yet enabled to grapple with the world, the flesh, and the devil, and often to trample them under foot. The solaces in affliction, wonderful!--sorrow sanctified so as to minister to joy. The foretastes of heaven, wonderful!--Angels bringing down the clusters of the Lamb, and the spirit walking with lightsome tread the crystal river and the streets of gold. Wonderful that the Spirit should strive with man; wonderful that God should bear with his backslidings; wonderful that God should love him notwithstanding his pollution; wonderful that God should persist in saving him, in spite, as it were, of himself.

II. The advantage which may be gathered from remembering the works of the Lord. Such advantage is obvious. It is by musing on God’s works that we learn God’s character and attributes; it is by remembering what God has already done that we are encouraged to hope for future interferences in our behalf; it is by calling to mind that “God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all,” that we are sustained by the animating belief that “He will with Him also freely give us all things.” It is by bringing forth the catalogue of wonders which the Lord hath wrought, the deliverance which His right hand hath achieved for His people, and the desolation which He has dealt out to their foes, that we are made confident that there are more with us than there are against us--that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. And it is, moreover, by strenuous and deliberate acts of memory that the importance of Gospel truth is kept vividly before us, and the mind prevented from dwelling on one part to the exclusion of any other. (H. Melvill, B. D.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 77:11". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-77.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

I will remember the works of the Lord,.... His works of creation and providence, his government of the world, and particularly his regard for his own people, and his preservation of them, especially the people of Israel, whom he had not cast off, nor would and so might serve to strengthen his faith, that he would not cast him off for ever: and in like manner, what God has done for his people in a way of grace, in their redemption by Christ, and in a work of grace upon their souls, may be improved to the removing of doubts and fears, and unbelief, and for the strengthening of faith: there is a double reading of this clause, that in the margin is followed by us; but in the text it is written, "I will cause to remember"; that is, I will declare and show forth to others the works of the Lord:

surely I will remember thy wonders of old; such as were done in Egypt, at the Red sea, and in the wilderness; which exceeded the power and reason of man, and which showed ancient love and old friendship subsisting between God and his people; so the remembrance of God's everlasting love, his ancient covenant, and the grace and blessings given in Christ before the world was, may be of use against despondency, and for the support and encouragement of faith.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-77.html. 1999.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

11.I will remember the works of God. The prophet now, inspired with new courage, vigorously resists the temptations, which had so far prevailed against him as well nigh to overwhelm his faith. This remembering of the works of God differs from the remembering of which he had previously spoken. Then he contemplated from a distance the divine benefits, and he found the contemplation of them inadequate to assuage or mitigate his grief. Here he takes hold of them, so to speak, as assured testimonies of God’s everlasting grace. To express the greater earnestness, he repeats the same sentence, interjecting an affirmation; for the word כי, ki, is here used simply to confirm or enhance the statement. Having then, as it were, obtained the victory, he triumphs in the remembrance of the works of God, being assuredly persuaded that God would continue the same as he had shown himself to be from the beginning. In the second clause, he highly extols the power which God had displayed in preserving his servants: I will remember thy wonderful works from the beginning. He employs the singular number, thy secret, or thy wonderful work; but I have not hesitated to correct the obscurity by changing the number. We will find him soon after employing the singular number to denote many miracles. What he means in short is, that the wonderful power of God which he has always put forth for the preservation and salvation of his servants, provided we duly reflect upon it, is sufficient to enable us to overcome all sorrows. Let us learn from this, that, although sometimes the remembrance of the works of God may bring us less comfort than we would desire, and our circumstances would require, we must nevertheless strive, that the weariness produced by grief may not break our courage. This is deserving of our most careful attention. In the time of sorrow, we are always desirous of finding some remedy to mitigate its bitterness; but the only way by which this can be done is, to cast our cares upon God. It, however, often happens, that the nearer he approaches us, the more, to outward appearance, does he aggravate our sorrows. Many, therefore, when they derive no advantage from this course, imagine that they cannot do better than forget him. Thus they loathe his word, by the hearing of which their sorrow is rather embittered than mitigated, and what is worse, they desire that God, who thus aggravates and inflames their grief, would withdraw to a distance. Others, to bury the remembrance of him, devote themselves wholly to worldly business. It was far otherwise with the prophet. Although he did not immediately experience the benefit which he could have desired, yet he still continued to set God. before his view, wisely supporting his faith by the reflection, that as God changes neither his love nor his nature, he cannot but show himself at length merciful to his servants. Let us also learn to open our eyes to behold the works of God; the excellence of which is of little account in our estimation, by reason of the dimness of our eyes, and our inadequate perception of them; but which, if examined attentively, will ravish us with admiration. The Psalmist repeats in the 12th verse, that he will meditate continually upon these works, until, in due time, he receive the full advantage which this meditation is calculated to afford. The reason why so many examples of the grace of God contribute nothing to our profit, and fail in edifying our faith, is, that as soon as we have begun to make them the subjects of our consideration, our inconstancy draws us away to something else, and thus, at the very commencement, our minds soon lose sight of them.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:11". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-77.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 77:11 I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.

Ver. 11. I will remember the works, &c.] Remember, and commemorate, as the Hebrew (by a double reading) importeth.

I will remember thy wonders] God is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working, Isaiah 28:29, and as we behold the sun in the waters, so God in his works. Saeculum speculum, the world is a glass or theatre, but especially the Church, wherein God setteth forth his wonders to the view of all.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:11". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-77.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And yet upon second and serious thoughts of what God had formerly done for his people, many times far above their expectations, I will take comfort in remembrance of them, because God is still the same that he was in power, and goodness, and love to his people, and therefore will pity and help us in this present calamity, as he hath oft done in others of the same nature.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 77:11". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-77.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

11. The works of the Lord—Hebrew, The doings of Jah. A poetic abbreviation of Jehovah, which appears in the earlier Hebrew poetry.

Exodus 15:2; Exodus 17:16, and often in the psalms.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 77:11". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-77.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 77:11. I will remember the works of the Lord — I will seriously consider what God has formerly done for his people, many times far above their expectation, and I will take comfort from hence, because he is still the same that he was, in power, goodness, and mercy, and, therefore, will pity and help in the present trial, which distresses me. Thus the psalmist, being restored to a right state of mind, instead of brooding any longer over his trouble, wisely resolves to turn his thoughts toward the divine dispensations of old; to meditate on God’s former works and wonders; the displays which he had made of his wisdom and power, of his mercy and grace in behalf of his people, as well of individuals as of the whole nation, and hereby to strengthen and invigorate his faith in the expected deliverance.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 77:11". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-77.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the works = doings.

THE LORD. Hebrew Jah. App-4.

wonders. Hebrew work. Some codices, with Aramaean, Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, read "wonders": i.e. wonderful ways or works.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 77:11". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-77.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(11) I will remember.—The written text is, “I will celebrate.” The intention is the same in both cases. Instead of continuing to despair, the poet resolves on seeking encouragement for his faith in grateful praise of God for past mercies, and especially for the ancient deliverance from Egypt, which occupies the prominent place in his thoughts; “works” and “wonders” should be in the singular, referring to this one mighty deliverance.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:11". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-77.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.
10; 28:5; 78:11; 111:4; 1 Chronicles 16:12; Isaiah 5:12

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 77:11". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-77.html.

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