Psalm 77, 30 June 2019

Psalm 76 makes a strong plea for a peaceable world where divine power and justice are the forces to be revered.

News clips of marching soldiers, missiles and aircraft carriers pour into our evening living rooms. In the city of God, however,:

… God broke the flashing arrows, the shield, the sword and the weapons of war … none of the warriors can lift a hand. (v.3, 5)

Just as we saw in Psalm 44.6:

I do not rely on my bow, and my sword does not give me the victory; surely you gave us victory (vs. 6, 7)

Psalm 77 goes on to emphasise the alternative source of power, that of divine love. The psalmist cites a different kind of arrow;  elemental forces evident in creation, miracles and guidance on display during the escape from Egypt:

The skies thundered; your arrows flashed on every side. The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind (17, 18)

The frosty winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere has just passed, while Europe swelters at 30 and 40 degrees. Either way, we look for relief after stress. This is a common theme in the psalms: recovery after hardship, peace after conflict, safety after danger. In Psalm 77 it emerges at the start of the selection for this Sunday:

In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
I will call to mind God’s deeds
I will remember your wonders of old
I will meditate on all your work
and muse on your mighty deeds. (vs 10 – 12)

🎵

This year we turn to a nice, easy, swinging little number in Psalms for All Seasons 77C by Tommy Walker. It begins: “We will remember the works of your hands … for great is your faithfulness.”

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