Through the Word in 2020 / April 10 – Praying with Asaph


Praying with Asaph
Our journey through the Scriptures brings us to the following passages today: Mark 3:1-6; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Joshua 19:10-48
And although technically we have no reading from the Psalms today – I’d like us to consider Ps. 77 from yesterday.
Like so many of the Psalms, this one is a prayer. And it wasn’t written by King David, but rather by a man named Asaph.
He was one of the men King David appointed to oversee worship in Temple in Jerusalem.
His legacy is an interesting one which spans much of the Old Testament.
I find this Psalm so compelling both for the beauty of the poetry, and for the way Asaph speaks to the experience of my own spiritual life.
For this Psalm is a prayer for those seasons when God seems to have withdrawn, when He seems distant.
And for all of us who have experienced this – which is probably all of us who know Christ – I find my being able to identify with his experience, and the counsel his prayer brings – wonderfully useful.
Let me try to summarize the Psalm, and put some of his words into my own in an effort to make them useful to you today as well. Especially if you find yourself in one of those dry or distant seasons right now.
1-9 / When it seems as though God has abandoned me, that He has forgotten to be gracious, I won’t just grit my teeth and bear it – I will cry out to God, cry loudly to Him, because I know He WILL hear me.
I’ll keep seeking Him, morning, noon and night, even though I have inward fears that He won’t answer – or that I’ve gone too far in failing Him this time. Even though I fear His promises may have come to an end for me.
After all, can it ever really be true that God has forgotten to be gracious? That He has lost compassion?
10 / No, that can’t be it – so this is what I will do: First, I will make myself remember back to when I used to know Him near – when I saw His power at work.
11 / Second, I will make myself remember the things He has done in times past.
And here is where Asaph’s wording shifts to prayer: I’ll remember the wonders you’ve performed Lord.
I’ll reflect on the glory of Your Creation.
12 / And displays of your power.
13 / That you are holy. And that you alone are God.
14 / That you have made yourself known to your people – You have revealed yourself in your works and in Your Word.
15 / I especially recall how you redeemed us out of Egypt – out of the world.
16-18 / How you parted the Red Sea. Did impossible things in delivering us.
19 / And how you were not visible then either. But still, You walked through the sea in front of us – even though we couldn’t see your footprints.
20 / I will remember that You yourself shepherded us, cared for us, tended us – and provided for us through ordinary human agents like Moses and Aaron.
I will remember that you are the Good Shepherd.
I will trust in your character.
If I can summarize the entire Psalm here: In those dark and distant days – I will direct my mind to fix on who and what You are Oh God, and how you have proved yourself true to yourself and your promises throughout all generations.
And stay there, until you answer again.
Beloved, let that sink into your soul today.
God bless – and God willing, we’ll visit again on Monday.

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