Reader: “This is my fate:”
Response: “the Most High has turned his hand against me.”
Scripture: Psalm 77:10-15
And I said, “This is my fate;
the Most High has turned his hand against me.”
But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
They are constantly in my thoughts.
I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.
O God, your ways are holy.
Is there any god as mighty as you?
You are the God of great wonders!
You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
Reader: The word of the Lord
Response: Thanks be to God.
Asaph, the guy who wrote this psalm, had nearly given up on God. His words? “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” There is no worse feeling than coming to the conclusion that someone has given up on you…especially when it’s you! It’s even worse when that someone is God. What’s the use? It’s over. We’ve made too big a mess. It can’t be fixed. Even in that state, if we’re honest, we’re hoping for a deep down miracle of someone changing their mind about us or that the situation will miraculously turn around or melt away. “The Most High has turned his hand against me . . .” Is there a way to be convinced that God hasn’t slammed the door on us? There is the famous little three letter word “but” followed by “recall”. Yes, in those moments of greatest doubt and discouragement, let history come to the rescue. Why do you think that throughout the entire Old Testament God continually reminded the people to recite their history? I’m indebted to Dennis Prager for this thought. “Memory permeates faith. No memory, no faith. Memory permeates gratitude. No memory, no gratitude.” God commanded that they remember certain feasts for that very purpose (Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles). On top of that, God has selective memory and so should we. He cannot remember sin, but he does remember his covenant. In moments of greatest doubt go to what you know is true from the past. The psalmist writes “I recall all you have done O Lord.” Truth adjusts and corrects perspective. The psalmist lets God’s past action permeate his mind. “I cannot stop thinking about…they are constantly in my thoughts…” The next time you are low and are convinced God has forgotten you, stick a big “but” in the middle of your thoughts and then rehearse God’s actions of the past. Let his historical work in your life permeate your mind. He’s talking to you!
Music: “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy” Fernando Ortega
Give us, O Lord, steadfast hearts, which no unworthy thought can drag downwards; unconquered hearts, which no tribulation can wear out; upright hearts, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon us also, O Lord God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
―Thomas à Kempis, 1380-1471