As of late I’ve been reading a very powerful book by Ruth Ward Heflin called “Glory: Experiencing the Atmosphere of Heaven”. Ruth was an amazing woman of God who lived in Israel in the 1970’s, commissioned by the Lord to do a powerful work of intercession and prayer for the nations while she was there. During her time in Israel God taught her much about “moving in the glory of God”, and she eventually became known as an apostle of glory because of the amazing things that God did with her and her ministry. I highly encourage any of you who have never checked her out or read one of her books to do so. She’ll be a great blessing to you.
As I was reading one of the chapters from her book a few days ago Ruth began describing how God taught her to sing a spontaneous song unto the Lord while she was praying. At first she described a reluctance based on the tradition and culture she was raised in as a pentecostal. As a pentecostal believer she grew up being a part of prayer meetings that were almost exclusively travail and intercession, but as she grew in the Lord God began to challenge her to add praise, worship, dancing, and singing to her prayer meetings that she was hosting weekly in Jerusalem. She was reluctant because she called the prayer meetings “Pentecostal Prayer Meetings” and she felt like she was going against what it meant to host a pentecostal prayer meeting. But eventually the fruit began to come forth as a result of her obedience, and she saw God do incredible miracles, signs, and wonders as a result.
During the time that God was teaching her to release the song of the Lord during her prayer meetings the Lord reminded her that it was David that “sang” his prayers to the Lord in the book of Psalms. We sometimes forget as we’re reading our bibles through the book of Psalms because we’re reading it as a book, but most of the psalms are indeed songs, and they were sung by David and the other psalmists as they received them from the Lord. The psalms came out of their spirits as songs when they opened up their mouths and began to flow with the Lord!
After I read this chapter I then moved into my bible reading time for the day. I read out of Psalm 77, a psalm where David is singing to the Lord about his troubles, and also about God’s answer to his troubles! For today’s article I want to minister to you out of this psalm! I pray this psalm is a blessing to you today and that you always remember in your own time of trouble, when you feel like your faith is wavering, to remind yourself what the Lord has done in your life and in the nations!
CASTING YOUR CARES UPON THE LORD
1 “I cried out to God with my voice — to God with my voice; and He gave ear to me.
2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted.
3 I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah
4 You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5 I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.
6 I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, and my spirit makes diligent search.
7 Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more?
8 Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selahâ€
“..casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
Once again, as we see many times throughout David’s psalms (or songs) He is grief stricken and overwhelmed by the problems of his life. The society in his time was not set up with an army of therapists ready to sit kings down on their couches and hear all of their troubles, so what did David do? He poured out his heart to the Lord, and sang of his trouble to God in the secret place of prayer. I encourage you to do the same. How many Christians would save tons of money and receive better solutions to their problems and comfort for their sorrowful hearts if they learned to cast their cares upon the Lord first before casting them on other people? Am I saying that opening up to people and sharing with other human beings has no value? No, absolutely not. It does have value, but so does this form of prayer that David models for us here in the psalms. Make God the number one person you confide in and watch how the condition of your soul strengthens before your own eyes and the eyes of those around you.
Notice how David does not hold back from telling the Lord exactly how he feels. Religion teaches us to pray inauthentic prayers before God, but relationship teaches us complete openness and honesty. So be honest with the Lord, because the Lord is not hampered by a religious spirit that’s easily offended by others approaching him informally (even though I believe in reverence). He’s not offended by your honesty. He’s not closing his ears to you because He’s startled by your brutal honesty. Be honest and open before the Lord. Your soul needs this kind of relationship with the Lord.
David “felt” like his soul refused to be comforted, so he openly and honestly told the Lord (vs.2). David felt like he was troubled, he complained and felt like his soul was overwhelmed, so He told the Lord (vs.3). David even began to question God’s favor, grace, mercy, and promise toward him (vs.7-9), but did not God get angry with him and refuse to hear his prayers anymore? No, because God’s thoughts are high above ours, and his ways are high above ours (Is.55:9). A normal human might be tempted to be offended and emotional when another person is questioning their character like David was beginning to question God’s in this psalm, but not our Lord. God understands our mortal frame and knows that we are but dust (Ps.103:14). He knows our every weakness and every strength, and He does not get moved emotionally in the same ways we do which causes us to do things selfishly and out of character. God remains patient as we pour out our hearts before Him and He is always gracious to give us the answer and the solution to our problems, even while we’re still in the middle of voicing our concerns to the Lord.
REMEMBER TO REMEMBER
“I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah”
Notice how in verse three the solution to David’s problem already begins to come out of his spirit. He says, “I remembered God”. David continues to repeat this act again and again for the rest of this psalm, and it is the key to changing his emotional state; it is the key to putting himself back into a posture of faith and victory and seeing God come through for him. He says, â€œI remembered God” (vs.3), â€œI have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times” (vs.5), â€œI call to remembrance my song in the night, I meditate within my heart, and my spirit makes diligent search” (vs.6).
At first, even after He acknowledges that He’s choosing to remember God during this time of trouble, He still admits that it doesn’t make him feel any better. He says in (vs.3), “I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah”. See the openness and honesty here? How many times have you been depressed or downcast in your spirit, and even after you began to lift your voice in faith and do the things you know to do in raw obedience, you didn’t feel any better at first? That was where David was, but He kept doing it. He kept remembering the Lord during this time of trouble, and that’s what we have to do as well. We have to keep doing the things we know to do, according to God’s word, and according to what God’s spirit has revealed to us down through the years as we’ve walked with God, and trust that things are going to turn around!
AS YOU REMEMBER YOUR SOUL BEGINS TO RISE UP
Watch as David’s attitude and emotions begin to change as He continues to faithfully and obediently remember the Lord during this trial:
10 And I said, “This is my anguish; but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
11 I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12 I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; who is so great a God as our God?
14 You are the God who does wonders; you have declared Your strength among the peoples.
15 You have with Your arm redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
16 The waters saw You, O God; the waters saw You, they were afraid; the depths also trembled.
17 The clouds poured out water; the skies sent out a sound; your arrows also flashed about.
18 The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; the lightnings lit up the world; the earth trembled and shook.
19 Your way was in the sea, your path in the great waters, and Your footsteps were not known.
20 You led Your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.â€
Notice the acceptance that David voices in (vs.10). He says, â€œThis is my anguish, but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High”. There’s no denial on his part, there’s no delusion concerning what He’s going through. There’s acceptance shown on his part concerning his situation, and still a willingness to remember God and the right hand of God’s power, the power of the Most High, where David had been positioned for many years! This is an important truth to grasp.
David accepted that this is his situation currently, but…. That’s called the but of faith. We must learn to follow the same motions of faith that David did. He said, “This is my anguish, but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High” (vs.10). We must acknowledge where we’re at in our relationships, where we’re at in our careers, where we’re at in our broken dreams and disappointed plans and purposes, and still remember when God was great in our lives and when God was great in the earth. Why? Because God does not change (Mal.3:6). Where He was once great on your behalf He will be again. It’s only a matter of time. It’s only a matter of faith and patience (Ja.1:3).
Notice how David’s song continued to change as He obediently remembered the Lord and his goodness. At first David was remembering the Lord but was not feeling any better for it (vs.3). After verse ten all talks of anguish, difficulty, and trouble cease. What’s recorded from verses 11-20 is David’s spirit and soul breaking into faith & praise! Praise is the victory! Remember that! Judah (which means praise) always went into battle first for Israel (Judg.20:18). Judah is also the royal kingly tribe. David came from the tribe of Judah, and so did Jesus. Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev.5:5). The battle represents your trouble. When praise goes before you into battle, when you approach your battles (your troubles) with praise, then you step into the overcomer kingly anointing of Jesus! When you approach your battles with praise you assume the position of victory, the victory of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who has conquered through his blood! Keep remembering the Lord, his goodness, his power, his provision, until your soul and spirit begin to praise the Lord, then let the praise break forth. Don’t keep it restrained behind your lips.
Some Christians think that praise and worship is just for Sunday morning, when we gather together in a public service, but that is not what the bible teaches and that is not modeled in the characters of the bible at all. These praises intermingled with David’s prayers that are recorded in the psalms are a snapshot of a normal day in the life of the king. Every day He was praying, everyday He was connecting with God in intimacy and relationship, and everyday He was praising and worshiping the Lord. Follow his example and make prayer and praise a daily part of your life. Speak everyday in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph.5:19).
As for me, everyday I get up and start my day with prayer and the word, and I don’t just read and say things to God. I mingle praise and worship with my declarations, affirmations, and prayers to God everyday, and everyday I’m praising God and thanking him for his goodness. I praise God for what He has done, I praise him with hands lifted for what He's doing (even if I don’t see it or feel it), and I praise him for what He’s going to do in my life and the lives of those I love.
So in conclusion, I want to encourage you to read this psalm again and really take in what it means for your life as a Christian and as a child of God. Make a fresh commitment today to follow David’s godly example. Be honest with the Lord, be open, and use the power of “remembering God” everyday in your life. Let your soul praise him, let your spirit praise him, & let your body praise him everyday with your hands uplifted. Praise him with your voice raised, praise Him with the dance, and watch as God visits you once again to uphold you by his mighty right hand and see you through your present trouble!
“I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever.”
In His Service,
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