*Poetry is a special way to use words. In the psalms, we find one special way that the *psalmists used. The *psalmists were the people that wrote the psalms. The special way that they used was this: they said the same thing twice using different words. How many verses can you find in Psalm 76 that use words like this?
Questions and Answers
John sent people to ask Jesus, "Are you the One that will come, or must we look for someone else?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things that you hear and see. Blind people can see again, people with bad legs can walk again, people that are ill become better, the *deaf hear and the dead come back to life". (Matthew 11: 3 - 5) (The "One that will come" is the Messiah or Christ.)
(This is) for the music leader.
(His name is) Jeduthun.
(It is a) psalm of *Asaph.
v1 I cried aloud to God.
I cried to God so that he could hear me.
v2 When trouble came, I looked for the *Lord.
All through the night, I lifted my hands (to him while I prayed).
But I did not get help.
v3 I remembered God and I cried.
I thought (about my trouble) and my *spirit became weak *SELAH
v4 (God), you do not let me close my eyes.
I have so much trouble that I do not know what to say.
v6 At night I remember the songs (that I sang).
I ask myself questions and my *spirit looks for answers.
v7 · "Will the *Lord always say 'No' to us?"
· "Will he never again be good to us?"
v8 · "Will he for ever stop giving us his kind love?"
· "Will he not do what he promised for us and our children?"
v9 · "Has God forgotten to be *gracious to us?"
· "Is he so angry with us that he will not love us?" *SELAH
v10 Then I said, "I will think about the times
when the *Most High did give us help.
v11 I will remember the things that the *LORD has done.
Yes, I will remember the *miracles that you did in past times.
v12 I will think about all that you have done.
I will think about all the great things that you have done".
v13 Your way, God, is *holy.
What god is as great as our God?
v14 You are the God that does *miracles.
You show people that you are very powerful.
v15 You saved your people with your strong arm.
You saved the people of *Jacob and *Joseph. *SELAH
v16 The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and rolled over and over.
The deepest seas moved round a lot.
v17 The clouds poured down water.
The noise of *thunder was in the skies.
Your *arrows were everywhere.
v18 The voice of your *thunder was in the storm.
Your *lightning lit all the world.
The earth moved about and *shook.
v19 Your road went through the sea.
Your path was through the great waters,
but nobody saw where your feet went.
v20 You led your people in a group
with Moses and Aaron at the front.
The Story of Psalm 77
We do not know who wrote Psalm 77. Something bad had happened to him or to his people, the *Jews. God let the bad thing happen, and did not give help. Did this mean that God had forgotten his people? No! The end of the psalm tells us that God gave help in the past. He can send help again to the *psalmist, if the *psalmist waits. The *psalmist may have read the Book of Habakkuk before he wrote Psalm 77. This tells a story *like that in Psalm 77. The *Jews could not understand why God did not give them help. The *prophet Habakkuk wrote that they must have faith. This means they must believe that one day God will send help.
What Psalm 77 means
Study the psalm in 4 parts:
· Verses 1 – 3: The *psalmist thinks about the bad things that happened to him or his people.
· Verses 4 – 9: He asks God if God will ever send help again.
· Verses 10 – 15: The *psalmist remembers what God did a long time ago.
· Verses 16 – 20: The *psalmist remembers when God led his people through the Red Sea when they left Egypt.
Verse 2: The *Jews lifted their hands to God when they prayed. The words in brackets ... ( ) ... are not in the *Hebrew psalm.
Verse 3: Again, the words in brackets are not in the *Hebrew psalm. We do not know what the trouble was.
Verse 4: This means that the *psalmist cannot sleep and does not know what to pray.
Verses 7 – 9: Here are 6 questions which the *psalmist asked. They mean "Will God ever help us again?" Often, we ask these questions. Did the *psalmist get an answer to them?
Verses 10 – 15:
· The *psalmist answers his own questions. First, he remembers the things that God has done, verses 10-12. He remembers that God is a GOD OF *MIRACLES. This means that God does things that nobody else can do, as when he led his people through the Red Sea.
· Then he remembers who God is and what he can still do. God is *holy, God is great, God is very powerful. God saves people. GOD DOES *MIRACLES, verses 13-14. In verse 15 "with your arm" means "what you have done on earth". All through the *Old Testament, "the arm of God" is a picture of God doing something on earth, not in *heaven.
Verses 16 – 20: are about God leading his people from Egypt to their new home. They had to go through the Red Sea. God was so powerful; he pushed the water of the sea back. He made a dry road through the sea for his people.
In verses 10 - 20, we read about what God did, and can do. The *psalmist does not ask God to do these things again, but we think that he said them as a *prayer. It was a *prayer for God to be himself, and to do something again for his people.