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Coming Out of Depression (Through the Psalms) Psalms 77

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
June 18, 2022 8:00 am

Coming Out of Depression (Through the Psalms) Psalms 77

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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June 18, 2022 8:00 am

Welcome to Through the Psalms, a weekend ministry of The Truth Pulpit. Over time, we will study all 150 psalms with Pastor Don Green from Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. We're glad you're with us. Let's open to the Psalms now as we join our teacher in The Truth the icon below to listen.

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Welcome to through the some weekend ministry of the truthful teaching God's people.

God's word over time will study all 150 Psalms with pastor Don Greene from truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio were so glad you're with us. Let's open to the Psalms right now as we join our teacher in the truthful open. Well, it is the nature of life that it's serious. Life is serious, life is important in life is sometimes very sad and difficult and one of the things that I love about Scripture. One of the things I love about being a Christian is that the word of God addresses us on an earnest level. It takes our souls, and it takes our struggles seriously and and and deals with them in a way that is that is noble that is helpful.

That meets the serious minded person at the level of his flawed at the level of his being at the level of his difficulty rather than treating it in a superficial way. Scripture does not pretend to entertain us. It's one of the ways that I think you can probably tell a true church from a false church is that a church that is trying to entertain you has already lost the spirit of of the Bible completely and also for those of you that have walk through difficult trials and I are walking through them. Now you understand that it's an insult to a discouraged person to try to put on an artificial air of of happiness of energy when you are in the midst of sorrow. It is not good to singing silly songs to a sad and broken heart. And Scripture does not do that to us. Scripture does not come and address us in a superficial way. It is not tried entertain us. Rather, it deals with us at the level of truth that the level of our souls and brings us into things that are actually helpful for for our spiritual well-being and as as a church. What we try to do you know what our intention is is that is to have a spirit about our worship services about her studies at times like this where a person could walk in off the street with struggles on their hearts and realizing whether or not they agreed with what was being said.

At least they were being treated as an intelligent serious person whose trials in life mattered and were going to be dealt with in an earnest way the Bible deals with us in that way. And for those that have lived life long enough to walk into those valleys is one of the things that you really come to treasure about Scripture completely and so Psalms 77 is certainly in the spirit of that kind of thinking. Psalms 77 begins in distress and yet it ends in spiritual triumph it opens in depressing introspection, and yet it ends in an outward looking faith. It is a psalm that points us to a frequent cause of depression. But even better points us to the way out of depression and that's what we want to focus on here this evening. One of the benefits of of going sequentially through the Psalms is just finding again and again and again the psalmist bearing his struggles with Forrest honestly and also simultaneously giving us the opportunity to identify with him in his struggles. And yet, following his lead on the way out of those struggles into a deeper and greater a greater faith and so it's with a sense of anticipation that we turn to Psalm 77 here this evening. You notice in the in the inscription it says for the choir director according to judge us on a psalm of Asaph jet if it was a music leader appointed by David. You can read about that briefly and first Chronicles 16 and first Chronicles 25. This song is written in a way that leads us into the world of depression the realm of depression as the psalmist experienced it, and then we find as we reflect on it. Some of the causes and some of the solutions to that difficult situation. It has been a while but I I've known the dark days of depression in my own Christian life. And I always have a measure of sympathy in patients with those that are walking through those days because you see it in Scripture. You know it by experience, and you realize that sometimes people just need a loving arm around them to be patiently walk through the sorrow with them.

It's not without purpose. The Paul said in Romans 1215 weep with those who weep. Sometimes the best thing that we can give to a struggling person is our sympathies to give them our ear, not quickly to run to instruct them or rebuke them because of the difficult nature of of life and so Psalms 77 addresses us in those ways to break it into two sections. In the first section the first nine verses of this she could title if you're taking notes you could say a bit turn look a better look at past days as the Psalm opens he's reflecting on the past. He's discouraged in the present and he (with a loud lamentation that expresses the torture that he feels in his soul. Look at verse one with me. He says my voice rises to God and I will cry aloud. My voice rises to God and he will hear me in the original text and read something like this little more broken than the way they try to smooth it out in the English the original text reads my voice to God and I will cry aloud my voice to God and he will hear me. The repetition and the.

The absence of corresponding verbs, emphasizing his deep lament.

There is a grown that the Psalm opens with all my voice to God my voice to God and so so even in the opening part of it.

You get a sense of the groaning that is taking place in his heart, his his tortured soul crying out to God in his voice expressing the turmoil in the anguish of his heart somehow a crisis, a chronic problem of some kind has assaulted him over a period of time. Look at verse two with me in the day of my trouble. I sought the Lord in the night my hand was stretched out without weariness. My soul refused to be comforted when I remember God, then I am disturbed when I signed in my spirit grows faint as he speaks of his outstretched hand that was in an Old Testament posture for prayer and what he saying here is, is that this lament this because of my concern and discouragement has been a matter of prayer for me for an ongoing period of time. I have cried out at night.

I have stretched out my hand extended my heart toward God in prayer and yet I'm still here in the midst of this lament, in his words in these verses are giving us a sense of what we loosely call his depression. I'm not using that in a clinical sense. Simply as a convenient term to say that he is sad he is struggling. He is downcast. That's the sense in which were using it and if you look there. In verses two and three with me. His soul is refusing to be comforted. He was disturbed, his spirit was growing faint and his size are venting the exasperation that he feels with the ongoing nature of this problem that has no solution in sight and might we say has has no end in sight. Some of you are there, we talked about in private conversations. It's one thing to have a problem and to see a way out of it and say okay I know how step one will lead to step two to step three. In this this all resolves is quite another thing, quite another thing to be in the midst of a chronic challenge in life, whether it's relational or physical or financial. A chronic situation of life and there is no human solution to it.

I've been there many of you are there right now. Those of you that have never experienced this in Christian life taken number it will come to you in due course. In due time, because this is the nature of life in a fallen world, and the psalmist addresses it and expresses it with an honest vigor that is appealing to those of us that have been there and so is he is opening here in the section. It seems hopeless to him and he is losing his will to continue the struggle you know Scripture Proverbs talks about a man's illness. He can bear. But who can who can bear a broken heart. When your heart is broken when your heart is despairing in the midst of the struggle then than what you have to go forward with in the salon there at the end of verse three tells us to pause for a moment and to consider the situation to look at the psalmist, not with a sense of criticism for what he is expressing but to stop and look and to consider and to identify and sympathize with him in his discouragement so we do that we look back in and we look at these prior three verses, and we see the grown in verse one is expression of of prayer fullness. It is gone and answered in verse two and to the point now where in verse three, where it his his heart is so agitated that he says to remember God simply disturbs me even more. And there is just this bubbling cauldron of confusion and discouragement that he is expressing as he opens it. Now as you move on. He continues in this kind of striking candor. This this transparency that is so spiritually useful to us and he tells us the troubles of his heart and what it is been like form even physically. Look at verse four. He says you have held my eyelids open.

I am so troubled that I cannot speak. He has been able to sleep his lost sleep over this. Over time, and it's at a point where he can't even put words to what is on his heart and so there's just this dark cloud that is defining his existence and that present condition would be bad enough for him. It would be bad enough to not be able to sleep over his troubles would be bad enough to have his heart so worked into knots that he couldn't even describe it with words. You know what that's like now I do from time to time.

Don't even you don't even want to start a conversation about it because you don't even know where to begin right know where to begin. How I even start to explain to you the circumstances in a way that you would understand the desperation in the discouragement that I feel in my heart you not talking about within the walls of truth, community church, but just knowing you know past experiences of my own other churches and some of you your experiences in prior churches if you tried to describe this in certain so-called Christian circles. They would look at you like your head was on backwards. What is wrong with you. What's the matter with you, and it not only serves to heighten the sense of isolation that you feel like there's not even anyone you can talk to who will even begin to understand, let alone actually be able to help you someone that will actually listen sympathetically, let alone be able to give you wise counsel from God's word. That said, that's a that's a hard place to be in and I can remember in times past coming to Psalm 77 saying the lease there's only serves one voice in the universe that understands I find it here in Psalm 77 and so I'm grateful to the Lord for the song is kinda brought us into his present state of agitation and we we can sympathize with the fact that he finds difficult, even putting it into words, least I do I sympathize with that. But his problem is you go through it is even deeper than that. There's that there's another compounding a layer to the struggles of his soul, and you see it in verses five and six. He says I have considered the days of old.

The years of long ago. I will remember my song in the night I will meditate with my heart and my spirit ponders what's he saying here is ease. Looking back into the past. I I've considered the days of old. He's remembering earlier days in his life, and in those earlier days, there was a sense of happiness there was.

There were times of song in his past and and in those happy days in those more joyful days are not his present experience.

But he remembers them. He thinks back when life was like that and he can remember the time where God seemed near to him where answers to prayer seem to flow very naturally very quickly very easily and he remembers what that was like I remember the song in the night. I considered the days of old. The years of long ago, God acted to save the psalmist.

He had acted to save his people in their times of distress and as he is looking back on that. He says I remember when my life was like that.

But that doesn't help him now in the present kind of an odd dynamic in one sense it will explain in as we go along in a moment. He remembers when life is like that. But now life is different now.

God is not providing the deliverance that he wants that he needs.

He is suffering without relief. There is no answer insight and so his restless spirit is remembering happy songs in the night from times ago but now what does nighttime bring to him, sleeplessness, cogitation, restless tossing complaint in his life and so he's laid it out.

Honestly, laid it out. First of all vertically before the Lord, but also laid it out for an audience to come and read later and on. Look this this just reminds us that the fundamental nature and the fundamental needs of man.

The fundamental struggles of people of faith really haven't changed over 2700 years.

It's it's a futility and a folly of the vein. Modern mind to think we have new circumstances and new spiritual needs today that Scripture hasn't address that's not true what the psalmist was expressing some 2500 years ago is sometimes the experience of the people of God today.

Let's stop for a moment and assess worries that and to assess him sympathetically and yet also objectively if you went through those first six verses you would find that he has referred to himself 21 times in these first six verses with the pronouns I my or me 21 times in six verses, it might seem like in those six verses that he is been focusing on is God, but he's really not.

He's not thinking quite right about God. He is remembering God over over past happiness, not in the context of present trust we say it sympathetically to his situation. We say it, recognizing that we are of like flash with him of like passions of like affections, but his faith is mixed with a prominent element of of self pity, as measured by these self referential statements that he is making and in the verses that follow. In verses seven through nine. He states six rhetorical questions that show just how desperate he had become verse seven.

Will the Lord reject forever. Will he never be favorable again as his lovingkindness ceased forever has his promise come to an end forever. Has God forgotten to be gracious or has he in anger withdrawn his compassion now.

The answer to all six of those questions is obviously no obviously God has not rejected him forever. Not for many objective biblical perspective, God will certainly be favorable again in the future.

Of course, God's loving kindness has not ceased forever.

Of course, his promise is not expired. Of course, God is not forgotten them.

Of course, God has not in anger, withdrawn his compassion. Of course, of course. Course answered all these questions is obviously no. But here's his problem is problem is is that his feelings are arguing against the truth, his feelings, his sleeplessness, his discouragement is his cloudy discouraged distorted thinking is not letting him process that truth in an accurate way and so the first section ends with this bitter look at past days with another cell law. An important break in the text here. Basically, at this break at this hinge point at this junction in Psalm 77 he's laid out what his problem is he stated it plainly is clearly articulated the spiritual struggle that he is facing and the effect that it is had upon him and the fact that whereas you might have looked back superficially and it seemed like he was standing on a mountain seeming like he was one of the stalwarts of faith in God and those happier days but now he finds himself in the valley and you know when you when you've been on that kind of mountaintop and the people of affirmed you on that kind of mountaintop and all what a great you know man of faith. You are now you find yourself in the Valley that's a very difficult place to be.

It's humbling to be in the Valley when previously you were leading the procession of the people of God might say, when previously you thought you were an example now you've been reduced to a more difficult situation. Now, let's just pause for a moment and just just ask ourselves a why why would God do that. Why would God allow us to go through such a time. Why would God more accurately more actively stated. Why would he orchestrate the circumstances of our life to bring such difficulty to bear upon us.

Why not simply why not simply set us on a a 5 Lane Wide Rd. perfectly pay that we can just drive and smoothness into the kingdom, but I just do it that way. Should be a lot easier would be a lot more pleasant. Why why this well. I think that we when we consider the totality of what Scripture says. Are there some things we need to realize things we need to understand is that God God does this, in part, to humble us. He doesn't impart to to break our spirit of self sufficiency and perhaps even more to break our sense of attachment to this world. It's easy for us to help develop a sense of pride in thinking of the thinking that we got it all under control well. These kinds of experiences, disabuse us about false view of self if things were always smooth. You know from your own experience things were always smooth, you would lose your sense of dependence upon Christ, you would lose any sense of dependence on God because who needs God. If everything is cool if everything is good if everything is well and so God allows us, God brings these difficulties into our lives to teach us humility to teach us dependence rather than independence and self-sufficiency but also those of you that have trod the path of saints a little longer than younger ones. The newer Christians in our midst, isn't it true, isn't it true that your deepest trials have taught you something that you can't just read in a book or watching an online video and appropriate as your own isn't it true that your hardest deepest most gut wrenching tear producing trials have a way of breaking your affection for this world isn't it true that that going through a deep valley like that helps you to see more clearly what Scripture would teach us from the beginning that this world is not our home that you realize that your affections and and and the permanence and the security for which you long, is not to be found in this earth, but rather still awaits the consummation of your salvation when you're with Christ in glory, you young people go to folder people you know have walked through trials and they'll tell you that, especially after hearing me say this tonight well yeah I'm right there with the pastor on that one. Yes sir, but it's true and and and and God brings these things to cultivate in us a greater sanctification to bring about a spiritual disassociation from ourselves and from this world so that we are more centered on trusting Christ and looking forward to what lies ahead for us in glory rather than loving ourselves and loving this world and so he brings us to a point of dependence and it may please him to leave us there for a very long an extended period of time.

Look over at second Corinthians chapter 12 with me in this regard. Second Corinthians chapter 12 read a hinge point. Remember in Psalm 77 and this is where the, the, the health and wealth, the prosperity gospel movement is so discouraging, so very un-biblical and so destructive to the spiritual well-being of people who look to them for spiritual answers because they tell people that your trials are an indication of the lack of faith on your part will will. This is nonsense.

This is silliness to think as some people have suggested to me in the very recent past that God doesn't want you to experience disease.

He doesn't want you to experience difficulty. Well, this is just not squared up with Scripture at all.

God brings these things to accomplish sanctifying spiritual goals in our lives and the apostle Paul is example a in that exhibit. As he is an apostle, he seen visions that no one else's has seen is so great were the visions is not permitted to speak about him. He's an apostle who had seen the resurrected Christ directly appointed by Christ he was he was at this this this great man in the realm of the kingdom of God and yet God didn't allow him to find his satisfaction in his boast in those kinds of things he says very specifically in second Corinthians chapter 12 verse seven because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations.

For this reason, look at this to keep me from exalting myself. There was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me and he repeats himself to keep me from exalting myself, why is it that God brings extended trials into our lives, impart, beloved, it is because he understands how deeply rooted pride is even in the redeemed heart how greatly tempted we are to self-sufficiency hosted ourselves to feel like we have it all under control and gradually imperceptibly start to reach out and bring the glory and put it on ourselves, turn the spotlight away from our Savior and onto ourselves and we are the center of attention is the one who did it all is the 1 Who Did It My Way.

So why does God humble us like that to keep us from exalting ourselves. Why is it so hard. Why is it so difficult. Beloved, I said sympathetically I say one who's been on the receiving end of this divine discipline. So I say it is one were were on equal ground here are pride are self-sufficiency or attachment to this world is deeper than we realize, God knows how deeply rooted. It is, but we don't see it ourselves were too close. We don't get it. We don't we don't recognize it. And so God brings extended trials in part two. Sanctify us to clinch those flames of pride and self-sufficiency and a love for this world so that we would rather turn our attention up, turn it to Christ and find our gladness and our sufficiency in him and in him alone when you realize that this world can't solve your problems for you when you realize that this world can't satisfy the longings of your heart what you what do you do as a believer you start increasingly to turn your back on those things and say Lord I want you and you are enough. As I've said in the past. I'm not the first one to say it. You don't realize that Christ is all you need until Christ is all you've got. In the process of getting to that point of spiritual dependency is necessarily painful.

And Paul was being tormented and he said this was designed to say it twice to keep me from exalting myself will have the Lord abandon him. Was this an active of unkindness and unfaithfulness from God know know there was a greater purpose at work and so Paul like the psalmist in Psalm 77 says in verse eight concerning this. I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me now you would think the apostle Paul would get his prayers answered.

Lord I ask you Lord I ask you a second time Lord I ask you 1/3 time. What's the matter what you know anything about this from the from the health and wealth prosperity movement. You can only from their perspective from their worldview.

You can only conclude that Paul was a man who did not have faith. Otherwise, the Lord would've answered his prayers and removed his trial from upon it. Well, that self refuting, isn't it, that is, outer foolishness that is folly. That has nothing to do with biblical Christianity whatsoever and we rejected. We detested, we condemn it. See they don't have the perspective that Scripture does. Which means they don't have the perspective that God does.

God says in verse nine Paul have a lesson for you.

He said my grace is sufficient for you, you don't need the storm removed in order to find satisfaction in me. You don't need a change in circumstances in order to find joy in Christ. This is the message that Paul was learning in the midst of this, and God told him specifically what the lesson was. He says my power is perfected in weakness. When we get your pride and self-sufficiency and attachment to this world out of the way and people see you for the, the humble man that you are then my power can be put on display on on display to your own heart and put on display for the world to see Paul I love this Paul having learned the lesson having grasped that he goes to the other extreme, now rather than praying that the weakness would be removed from him. He says in verse nine.

Most gladly therefore I will rather boast about my weaknesses, I will highlight it. I will embrace it because in my weakness. The grace and glory of God is put on clearer and fuller display and he says that matters more than my earthly comfort that matters more than anything else to me if my weakness becomes the habitation of the power of Christ, so much the better.

If my being humbled means that I more consciously share in the presence and sufferings of Christ Jesus.

That's very much better coming. Paul said in Philippians 1 know you better for me to die and be with Christ and continue on in the flesh. So then he says in verse 10.

Therefore am well content with weaknesses within salts with distresses with persecutions with difficulties for Christ's sake. See it's it's Christ it's Christ. Verse nine the power of Christ. Verse 10, for Christ's sake. For when I'm weak that I'm strong struggling Christian discouraged. We carded fainting believer in Christ right there is your sense of encouragement.

You have before you in Scripture a book that understands you, you have a God who understands you and a God who is accomplishing sanctifying good purposes through your extended trial of weakness so that you might come better to treasure the greatness of Christ. That is been given to you that you would mess if your life was simply an unbroken testimony of prosperity and ease yet admitted hurts. But God has a spiritual end in mind. That is, of surpassing value that is of a value that does not belong to this world and if you can see it from that perspective.

You're on the road to embracing it, even though nothing changes said this so many times it's it could sound cold, it could sound harsh, but it's anything but that it is the it is a a a statement of hope even if you haven't yet quite grasped it in your own heart, your circumstances do not have to change at all in order for you to experience the surpassing joy of Christ here and now. It's not about your circumstances it's about grasping the greatness of Christ. Habakkuk said the fields can the fields can falter. I can lose all of the flocks yet. I will exalting the Lord. I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. Everything stripped away. I have nothing to my name. I have no earthly promise of change or hope you know what I'm rejoicing in the Lord. I see with clear vision is surpassing excellency and I wouldn't of seen it in that light, in that all sufficient consuming perfection of mind.

I wouldn't of seen it unless everything else is been stripped away, and sometimes the surgeon's scalpel that the Lord uses on this is severe financial loss. Severe relational loss. Sometimes it's the death of loved ones. You can know that through it all. This is the spiritual point that the Lord is leading to where you understand more clearly and embrace with satisfaction the complete and utter sufficiency of Christ alone. So let's go back to Psalm 77 with those things in mind will say more toward the end here. We started with in the first section the first nine verses a bitter look at past days here in the second half of the Psalm were going to take a a better look at God's ways a better look at God's ways. Now this next verse we left off at the end of verse nine. This next verse, verse 10 is rather difficult to translate and interpret. If you read across different Bible versions, you will see that they handle it in much different ways.

Let's look at it here in verse 10 with the new American Standard techs were using. He said in verse 10.

Then I said, it is my grief that the right hand of the most high has changed. Now when you read that from a particular perspective, it could sound like that his conduct.

He is concluding based on everything that he said in the first verse nine verses that God had actually changed in his dealings with him. The Naz B translation leaves it that way but I think that other translations clarify the sensitives better intended here because this the Psalm would not be affirming the fact that God actually changed in a translation that makes you think that may not be the best way to understand the verse.

For example, the new King James version says reads this way, he says and I said this is my anguish. But I will remember the years of the right hand of the most high in similar manner, the English standard version says in verse 10. Then I said, I will appeal to this to the years of the right hand of the most high. The idea here in verse 10 is this. It's not that God has changed and that he's he's coming to a conclusion based on what he said in the first nine verses, one of the things it helps us know that that's not what he intends to say is the settled law at the end of verse nine. If that is a break in the text.

It is at the end of one thought in a new thought is being introduced in verse 10. So what is this thought that is being introduced than in verse 10.

In essence, you could summarize it like this, he looks back at the last nine verses and he says I've stated I just stated my problem.

But now I'm going to prohibit. Now I'm going to turn and I'm going to remember aspects of the nature and the acts of God, and what you see coming and and what helps us get a sense that this is what he means in verse 10 is that that is the direction that he goes in the remainder of the song verse 10 is a pivot to new thinking different thinking in the second half of the song rather than a summary of the prior nine verses we see that in what follows in beloved. Remember what I said you can see this you can see this by remembering what I said earlier in those first six verses 21 references to me in my will.

Here in the second half of the song. Those first-person pronouns recede and fade into the background. They just kind of disappear like a missed in the wind in his references to God in the acts of God. Correspondingly increase by contrast with verse 11. He says I shall remember the deeds of the Lord, surely I will remember your wonders of old. I will meditate on all your work and muse on your deeds something really crucial has just happened. He says I am breaking from my introspection and for the benefit of the many people like me that are in this congregation, who tend toward introspection, who tend toward overthinking things are repeat what I just said for my benefit, as well as for years. He is breaking away from his pivoting away from that self absorbed introspection and is consciously applying himself to a new realm of thought, a different realm of thought, and so he is going to focus not on today's problems in today's feelings about today's problems, but rather he's going to use his memory to engage in a discussion in his mind about God's past provision for his people. He set look at it there with me again in verse 11.

I remember the deeds all remember your wonders will meditate on your work on muse on your deeds. So in verse 13 he goes on and you see the lofty way that he is thinking as his thoughts elevate toward heaven rather than sinking in the quicksand of self and he says in verse 13 your whale God is holy.

What God is like our God. He states it as a question that that is an emphatic declaration of faith.

I've been thinking. In this way in the first half of this Psalm, but let me make a declaration the changes the whole perspective on everything what God is great like our God, and then he immediately begins to recite in his mind, historical incidents that God has done on behalf of his people to reinforce that central thought what God is great like our God what God is holy like him. Let me tell you what he's done. In other words, he doesn't give room for the prior introspection to seep back in like a poorly sealed basement polluting what was there. He remembers God's acts in history that prove the way he cares for his people. Look at verse 14.

He says you're the God who works wonders. You have made known your strength among the peoples you have by your power redeemed your people the sons of Jacob and Joseph selloff.

He identifies himself and he remembers what God has done for his covenant people in the past, the sons of Jacob, the sons of Joseph. He remembers that he is a part of the spiritual lineage. He belongs to a people of God, and those people have a shared common history of how God had acted in history to deliver them from greater dilemmas and what he was experiencing right now and as he continues on in the Psalm. He focuses particularly on when God rescued Israel from Egypt at the Red Sea. When the sea was parted and the children of Israel walked through on dry land.

In verse 16, he reports, he personifies the waters as though the waters were thinking beings.

If you could put it that way. In verse 16 he personifies the waters as though they were responding to their creators command.

Look at verse 16 with me.

The water saw you.

Oh God.

The water saw you they were in anguish. The deeps also trembled. The clouds poured out water. The skies gave forth the sound your arrows flashed here and there, indicating the lightning that occurred at the time, rain and thunder. Verse 18 the sound of your thunder was in the whirlwind. The lightnings lit up the world the earth trembled and shook your way. Verse 19 Your Way was in the sea and your paths in the mighty waters in your footprints may not be known. All of that brief summary description of the events that we read about in the book of Exodus.

What's he saying is making a really simple point.

Simple yet profound simple in the sense that it's not difficult to understand simple and that it's one primary point that is making all of the signs that accompanied the passing of Israel through the Red Sea. The fact that the water split when Israel was in great danger, and in need of immediate deliverance and market there was no sign of human deliverance. There was no means of human deliverance available to them in Army behind him and water in front of them.

Either way, humanly speaking, death was right on their heels. What did God do for them at that time. He powerfully delivered them. He did what no man could do. He acted upon nature in a supernatural way that displayed his power in their time of distress. But you know what else that display of power was wasn't a display of power just for power's sake. He wasn't simply showing off flexing his muscles to be observed and adored his power was being displayed because he was faithfully delivering his people in love. He was providing what they needed in a time of great crisis is power. In other words, was being used by his love to care for his people and the psalmist remembers that all of those signs showing his power is power showing his love is his love being a manifestation of his faithfulness to his people. What was the result. Verse 20 what was the result.

He says the psalmist says you lead your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron flock the shepherd Psalm 23, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil for you are with me. That was their experience even in the days of Aaron and Moses. God was a shepherd leading them like a flock. 500 years.

400 years later, David would summarize it in Psalm 23 the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. And through the threat of Egypt through the tumultuous circumstances God had led them like a shepherd. He had used Aaron and Moses to bring them to safety and the point that is making is this beloved. Don't miss this, or you'll miss the whole point of the song God was protecting them. Even through the frightful circumstances, even through the discouragement and the fear that those circumstances brought they were effectively within the hollow of the hand of God and nothing would ever pluck them from beloved that is precisely the position that you enjoy with this same God in Christ owe the psalmist here in Psalm 77.

He doesn't circle back and say oh, and I trust you to.

He doesn't go back in's and say I trust that you will do this for me as well. Why doesn't he do that. Why not make it explicit beloved.

Here's the reason why the very small is the expression of his trust. The song itself by declaring it in this form is his declaration. I now trust this God even though I went through a period of doubt and discouragement before I got there before his memory haunted him and undermined his face saying look back at the past happy times. It's not like that now and you know what it never will be like that in those days of contentment and trust in deliverance are in your past in his memory tricks him wise to him and tells him it'll never be the same again, but he takes his memory and uses it to serve his faith to strengthen his face to remember what God had done in the past and he comes out in a place of strength in the end. How does that work for Christian today. This is really important. I'll say this depression is were using the term here discouragement sense of despair. It's a difficult battle for Christian find it's not easy and it's not a one time slaying of Goliath with a stone in a slingshot. It's a battle that you persevere through not knowing when the victory is going to come sometimes, but beloved beloved.

It is a battle that you can fight and it is a battle that you can when I would go so far as to say it is a battle you must fight and you must win. It is your responsibility as a Christian, but even better, it is your prerogative as a Christian.

It is your right as a Christian to win that battle. There's just a couple of things I would say is we come near the end of this first of all addressing this to myself in times past. If the early Christian Don Greene was sitting on the front world I would look at them and tell them look this is what you need to hear. I know this is hard. I know you're really discouraged but here's what you need to hear God you can listen in as I counsel my old self. This is really getting weird and it but I'm doing it this way because I think that it helps if we see it a little more indirectly I would say to my old self. My early Christian the early Christian Don said Don you need to admit something you've become preoccupied with yourself, you become preoccupied Don with your problem. You've lost sight of greater spiritual realities. That's what I would've said that's what I needed to hear. I wish I wish that I could have come forward 20 years in and heard this message and then gone back the whole course of my life might've been a little bit different, but whatever.

Enough of the time travel here. We recognize, perhaps we've become embittered against God for the confusion has led to exasperation fatigue in the midst of it, and perhaps, understandably, but not to be accepted. We lose heart were embittered, even against God for the situation we find ourselves in what we do then is there any way forward out of that will let me encourage you by saying this, as I see it is. I understand these things as I perceive these things the call to a Christian in that circumstance is not a is not a harsh Stern severe called repent now there's an element of repentance it's needed there something that provides context for that to happen and to not simply rely on our willpower to break us out of the mold something far, far better there something that answers the longing of every true Christian heart.

There is an answer that gives us a sense of perspective that we have the benefit of today that the psalmist in Psalm 77 didn't have we looked at this text briefly the aunt this past Sunday. I think it may be the one to look at it this coming Sunday. All Connor runs together in my mind, look at first John with me. When you're in that vortex of introspection and the circumstances cannot change where do you find your way out. What is the exit ramp to get you out of that awful perspective. First John 49 and 10 first John four, nine and 10. The psalmist remembered the acts of God at the Red Sea. We as Christians remember the acts of God in the red blood of Calvary.

That's what we do. Verse nine.

By this, the love of God was manifested in us that God has sent his only begotten son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved that shatters an unhealthy introspection, looking at the past looking within. I'm so discouraged I'm so heartbroken. Whatever the case may be, beloved, God help us all to grasp what I'm about to say.

The cure for your depression.

The cure for your discouragement and despair is not further introspection, further contemplation of the sorrow further contemplation of the wrongs that have been done to you by others in the past that is a fast road to nowhere. The cure for depression is not remembering your past happiness in remembering it. By contrast, your present difficulty.

The cure for depression is to forsake the introspection and go back to the cross when you are tempted to question the love of God to question whether God still cares to question whether God is ever going to do anything beloved makeup beeline for Calvary because when you go back to Calvary. You'll find red blood shed for your sins. You'll find a love split, not waters, but split your soul from the domination of sin and Satan.

You will find the son of God. The propitiation for your sins. You'll find one who actually loved you, to the point of his own death to bear the weight of your sin on his shoulders to recognize that there is this cosmic divine love that has been set upon you a cosmic divine eternal power set upon for the deliverance of your soul for your eternal well-being for your eternal bliss to look back to the wooden beams where you were delivered decisively once for all, from your spiritual slavery to sin to death to Satan to judgment, to hell go back to Calvary. Beloved, go back to Calvary and remember, remember the better ways God has dealt with you blood to go back to Calvary and say to yourself literally stand in front of a mirror if it will help and address yourself and preach to yourself and say, in light of Calvary my soul.

Remember that is how God acted. God became a man to go to the cross to save you from sin.

Remember the suffering servant on the cross and reflect and meditate that that is the measure of the love of God for your soul. You know what yet changed your circumstances, going to get that loved ones of come and gone.

Health is come gone finances, gone. But don't you see that the bright red highway of blood from Calvary is smooth and permanent as it's ever been that guarantees the well-being of your soul that that testifies infallibly to the perfect love of God for your soul that that testifies to you what the outcome of all of your trials will ever be full reconciliation with God in his presence in heaven forever and ever were sin and sorrow and trials will never molest you again and you step back and you remember Christ you remember him in that context, the voluntary self-sacrifice that led him to do that and you realize something really crucial.

You realize that the one who died for you the one who rose again on your behalf. He would never abandon you to death.

He would never abandon you to isolation. He would never abandon you to desolation. This is only for a season to accomplish a spiritual purpose in your life with a better outcome intended and preordained from the beginning certain to occur, it comes out well for you as a believer in Christ. Let that be what brings you out of depression. Let that be the. The whistle that calls you coming out of depression. Beloved, I encourage you I beg you, I ask you I call you let time in the hands of this gracious self-sacrifice in Christ. Let time in the hands of your gracious God be your friend. Let's pray together. Father, we say these things knowing that your word promises us that he who believes in Christ will not be disappointed. Father, have mercy on those crawling along in the desert of the death Valley of the circumstances panting for water. Father let this be a sudden, unexpected stream of cool water to their souls that refreshes them a fresh remembrance that there are saints of old that have walked this path before us that your word understands and addresses. Honestly, the difficulties of our soul, but it's not a sentiment that the word gives us it's an answer that your word gives to us so God and answer rooted in a powerful God who is a God of faithful love to his people whom we now know to be manifested in the Lord Jesus Christ triumphant at the cross triumphant in his resurrection triumphant in his ascension one day to be triumphant in his return for his people.

You have not left us. You have not forsaken us you have not done us Lord. We trust that your tears to your discouragement. Father declare trust you look out from ourselves up to you to Calvary up to Christ and we affirm before we see the answer that our trust in you is not was not good enough to be in Jesus name will friend thank you for joining us on through the Psalms.

If you would like to follow my weekly messages from truth Community Church go to truth Community and look for the link titled pulpit podcast again. That's truth Community God bless you. Thanks Don and Fran through the Psalms is a weekend ministry of the truth sure to join us next week for our study is Don continues teaching God's people.

God's word and we also invite you to join us on Sunday at 9 AM Eastern for our live stream from truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can find the link at the truth. this message is copyrighted by Don Green. All rights reserved

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