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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Questions Asked During Tough Times (Psalm 77:7-9)

"Will the LORD reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?"

Questions. Questions. Questions. The Psalmist records six basic questions asked during difficult and bewildering times when God's presence seems absent:
  • Will the Lord cast off forever?
  • Will He be favorable no more?
  • Has His mercy ceased forever?
  • Has His promise failed forevermore?
  • Has God forgotten to be gracious?
  • Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?
Difficulties raise questions about God that good times do not. Difficulties test the veracity of our theology and provide an opportunity to appropriate the truths of God's word. And, lastly, difficulties try our resolve to trust Him.

How you answer the above questions determines whether or not you will comfort or console yourself in the midst of your difficulty with alcohol, food, drugs (both prescription and illegal), retail therapy, and other escapist measures or trust the Lord regardless of the outcome of your circumstances.

The real question is asked and answered in verses 13-15, "What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph." Hezekiah and the city of Jerusalem were in a hopeless situation as they lay under siege by the Assyrian army. Had not God come through for them then they were sunk. Hezekiah sought the Lord and the Lord answered him by killing 185,000 of Assyrian army.

Asking questions about God is natural as we go through difficulties. Possessing a high and lofty view of God, however, enables us to either answer correctly the questions that arise or trust Him regardless of our circumstances. Reminding ourselves of God's past interventions and activities on behalf of His people also reinforces our faith, "Then I thought, "To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High." I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds" (verses 10-12).

So then, this Psalm teaches us that asking questions is normal. It also teaches us that remembering His past deeds nurtures our faith during the tough times which come our way.

Questions for Today's Chronological Bible reading:
Psalm 75
  • What does this Psalm teach about God?
  • What does this Psalm teach about those who are wicked?
Psalm 76
  • What recent past event in Israel's history does this Psalm allude to?
  • What does this Psalm teach about God?
Psalm 77
  • What does the Psalmist do when all seems hopeless?
  • What kinds of questions does the Psalmist asks when he finds himself in a hopeless situation?
  • What distinguishes Israel's God from the gods of those around them?
Psalm 80
  • What analogies does the Psalmist use to describe God's relationship with Israel?
  • What does the Psalmist request of the Lord again and again in this Psalm?
  • What in this analogy signifies the blessing of the Lord? the judgment of the Lord?
Turning truth into prayer
Thank the Lord for His faithfulness. Express you faith in Him as you face the difficulties that come your way.