#6 (The “Remember” Series)
“REMEMBER THE MIRACLES?!”
TEXT: Psalm 77:1-20
INTRO: Remember all the weird fears you had as kid? Why did we have such crazy fears? Such things as that dark basement ... you know, the boogie man that lived down there! Or, occasionally the boogie man moved upstairs to hide under your bed or in your closet! Kids of course have fears for many different things because they have no reference point from history to allay those fears! As adults we learn that these fears are dumb because the history of our life proves to us that no boogie men exist!
Diseases that rob adults of their past memories often leave them fearful and paranoid again, just like being a child again. The ability to remember gives direction to our lives in the present and for the future.
PROP. SENT: Remembering the miracles God has done for others as well as those He has done for us will help establish a healthier and steadier walk with God in the present as well as in the future. We are less apt to slip away from God if we can recall His faithful help in times past.
A. Great Pain 77:1-2
1. Asaph had gone through some great trial and here he is recalling how it had impacted him and his faith in God.
a. Asaph was one of the choir directors in David’s time.
b. Some great distress had come into his life and turned him upside down, even though he was a leader of God’s people he had a hard time reconciling his faith to this event!
2. This was not the first struggle Asaph had felt, notice in Psalm 73 he talks about almost slipping with his faith!
3. Notice too Psalm 74:9 “We are given no miraculous signs … how long will this be?”
a. Asaph knew despair and its affect on his faith!
b. Even the best of God’s people hit great pain in their life, things they can’t explain or reconcile with faith in a good God!
4. Notice Asaph’s description of how this trial had affected him:
a. He implies that God wasn’t hearing him.
b. He implies physical exhaustion: “I stretched out untiring hands.”
c. He implies no sleep at night, restlessness “at night … and my soul refused to be comforted.”
5. Whatever the trial, it had produced a level of pain that superceded any physical or mental comfort!
a. This sort of trial produces one of two types of negative reactions:
b. Either an angry lashing out, or a trembling fear that paralyzes.
ILLUS: LIKE BREAKING WILD HORSES, THEY WILL RESPOND IN ONE OF TWO WAYS WHEN A SADDLE IS FIRST PUT ON THEM, THEY WILL REAR UP AND ANGRILY LASH OUT AT THE ONE WHO PUT THE SADDLE ON THEM, SNORTING IN ANGER ALL THE TIME OR THEY WILL SIT PERFECTLY STILL AND TREMBLE WITH FEAR, TOO TIMID TO MOVE. THEY JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT IS HAPPENING AND THEY ASSUME THEY ARE IN MORTAL DANGER! -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
B. Great Pessimism 77:3-9
1. The more Asaph thought about his trial the more he remembered how free he used to feel from pain, and thus he became more and more pessimistic!
a. Now he couldn’t sleep or talk, self-pity sets in for the good old days!
b. He begins to remember, but he is remembering the wrong things!
2. He remembers his former happiness, but NOT the reasons for it, had he remembered the reasons for that happiness he might not have slipped into self-pity!
a. He remembered the “songs in the night” – to be contrasted here with his not being able to sleep due to the painful trial he was in!
b. This kind of remembering only led to despair, contrasting his former feelings of joy with the present lack of it. He would have done better to remember the REASONS for that previous joy and not just the feeling of it!
c. Only remembering the feelings of yesterday instead of the reasons why we felt good will only lead to despondency, with the result of a pessimistic life, remembering the reasons can lead to solutions!
(1. Such examples of this kind of despair start with: “I remember how happy I used to feel, but now...”
(2. Or “I can’t stand feeling this way, I felt so good before.”
3. Had Asaph turned his attention to the reasons for his previous happiness he might have recalled the Lord’s goodness, this would have led him to a different path other than pessimism!
a. Too much time is spent in counseling people by exploring “feelings” – we need to explore “reasons” that lead to our dilemmas.
b. It is not as important what we feel as much as it is important why we feel a certain way!
ILLUS: REMEMBER THAT BOOGIE MAN? YOU CAN’T HELP A KID JUST GET RID OF THE FEELING OF BEING AFRAID UNLESS YOU GIVE HIM REASONS NOT TO BE AFRAID, JUST TELLING THEM “DON’T BE AFRAID” WON’T WORK. YOU’VE GOT TO GO INTO THE BASEMENT WITH THEM, LOOK UNDER THE BED AND IN THE CLOSET AND SHOW THEM. GIVE REASONS FOR NOT BEING AFRAID EVEN IF THE FEAR DOESN’T LEAVE IMMEDIATELY, REASONS WILL HELP THEM OVERCOME THEIR FEAR IN TIME -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
A. God’s Performances 77:10-12
1. Notice all the way up to this point in this Psalm you read over and over again “I” and “ME.”
a. Now there is a shift from “I” and “ME” to “YOU” (the Lord).
b. This is a positive step for Asaph, to get the focus off himself and back on God!
c. He is about to make an important change, from focusing on HOW HE FELT to what GOD HAD DONE!
2. It is this shift that will bring him up from despair to deliverance!
3. Asaph would not have come through this trial in a healthy way if he had not remembered the previous miracles of God’s deliverance, if he had stayed only on his feelings he would have languished in them!
a. The string of past victories and miracles make us stronger and stronger with each new one – IF WE DON’T FORGET THEM!
b. Remembering God’s past “deeds” took the focus off his feelings and put his mind of God’s performances, this is the safest place to go in a trial!!!
STEADMAN (CHRISTIAN AUTHOR AND PASTOR) RECALLED THE TIME WHEN HE WAS TRAVELING
WITH HIS WIFE AND YOUNG DAUGHTER. THEIR DAUGHTER SUSAN HAD A SLIGHT FEVER
THE NIGHT BEFORE THEY LEFT BUT SEEMED O.K. ENOUGH TO TRAVEL THE NEXT DAY. AS THEY WERE PASSING THROUGH A VERY RURAL
AREA SUSAN SUDDENLY STARTED TO CONVULSE AND PASS OUT, HER EYES ROLLING AROUND IN
THEIR SOCKETS, SHE WAS BURNING UP WITH A VERY HIGH FEVER SUDDENLY. STEADMAN CLUTCHED HIS HEART IN FEAR AND
SLAMMED ON THE BRAKES. SEEING A
SMALL FARMHOUSE ACROSS THE WAY HE TOOK HIS DAUGHTER AND RAN FOR THE HOUSE. IT WAS AND HE
POUNDED ON THE DOOR. A FRIGHTENED
WIFE APPEARED IN THE DOOR AND STEADMAN QUICKLY ASKED, “MAY I USE YOUR BATHTUB TO
PUT MY DAUGHTER IN TEPID WATER WHILE I CALL AN AMBULANCE” THE WOMAN SENSING THE
SITUATION WAS REAL QUICK TO HELP, SHE POINTED DOWN THE HALL WAY TO THEIR
BATHROOM. EVERYTHING TURNED OUT
FINE, AND THEY DISCOVERED LATER THAT THIS WAS THE ONLY FARMHOUSE FOR MILES
AROUND THAT HAD A BATHTUB. GOD HAD
LED THEM TO THE
4. Asaph begins to recount the many miracles of his and other believer’s past experiences!
a. “The years of the right hand of the Most High.”
b. “... the miracles of long ago.”
c. “and all your mighty deeds.”
5. This is a major function of the BIBLE, recording the miracles of God’s work so that we can’t and don’t forget!
a. That is why sermons are important, they don’t even have to teach you something new every time, they do need to remind us of God’s good work all the time however!
b. We are too prone to forgetting, we need constant reminders of God’s handiwork!
c. It is not just our own history; we need to remember that of others too. The part of being part of a Church fellowship feeds this!
6. Remember what God has done in the past gives us courage for the present and hope for the future!
a. Those who fail to remember are doomed to repeat the past!
b. Our struggle will be less when we remember God’s faithful help from the past!
B. God’s Personality 77:13-15
1. Now his focus is on God, not on himself. He is much more likely to walk a straight path with God as the focal point!
FARMER WHO WAS TEACHING HIS SON HOW TO PLOW. HIS SON ASKED, “DAD, HOW CAN I MAKE A
STRAIGHT LINE WHEN PLOWING?” HIS
DAD TOLD HIM TO FIND AN OBJECT IN THE DISTANCE LIKE THE COW LYING DOWN AT THE
END OF THE FIELD AND FOLLOW IT. THE
FATHER LEFT AND CAME BACK HOURS LATER TO FIND HIS FIELD PLOWED UP WITH CRAZY
CURVING LINES EVERYWHERE! WHEN HE
ASKED HIS SON WHAT HAPPENED HE SAID, “I GUESS THE COW KEPT MOVING DAD! YOU CAN ONLY PLOW A LINE AS STRAIGHT AS
THE STEADINESS OF THE OBJECT YOU FOCUS ON!!
2. Thinking of God’s faithful help moves him to think of God’s faithful character.
a. Thinking about God’s faithful miracles moves him to appreciate God’s faithful nature and character.
b. This is the point of miracles, to help us love and appreciate God, to call attention to His power and love.
c. Miracles also are a part of God’s plan to redeem His people, not just for a good show! 77:15
3. Clever human magicians could duplicate some of the miracles God did through Moses ... but even they ran into a dead end as God continued the miraculous plagues! There is no other God like the one we serve!
a. Asaph’s mind now is turned on to thinking about God’s faithfulness and power – the result is that despair is disappearing and so is the pronoun “I”... now all he says is “YOU.”
b. The focus on God changes the whole nature of his complaint and anguish.
c. As he recalls the miracles from the
4. God still does miracles for His people, He hasn’t changed at all!
GRAHAM TELLS THE STORY ABOUT A FRIEND NAMED JOHN PATON, A MISSIONARY TO THE
A. God’s Power 77:16-19
1. There is nothing that God cannot do, all the elements of nature respond to His will, this is Asaph’s point in these verses.
2. Those who have God have everything, there is nothing more to get after the Lord – he is the “Alpha and Omega” (the “A and Z” – the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet are Alpha and Omega) thus meaning Christ is the first and last!
3. Everything we need is found in Christ!
ILLUS: IMAGINE THE NUMBER OF WORDS IT TOOK TO WRITE A THIRTY VOLUME SET OF THE ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA! TO WRITE ABOUT EVERYTHING WE KNOW TOOK MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF WORDS, BUT THE AMAZING THING IS THAT ALL THIS INFORMATION WE KNOW AND ALL FUTURE KNOWLEDGE IS ALL MADE UP OF ONLY 26 LETTERS! THE AUTHORS DID NOT HAVE TO GO OUTSIDE OF THE 26 LETTERS OF OUR ALPHABET TO ASSEMBLE THAT MASSIVE COLLECTION OF KNOWLEDGE, THESE 26 LETTERS PROVIDED EVERYTHING THEY NEEDED, AND WILL EVER NEED! THIS IS JESUS, WHO IS THE “ALPHA AND OMEGA” THE FIRST AND LAST LETTER OF THE GREEK ALPHABET, EVERYTHING WE CAN KNOW AND HAVE IS FOUND IN HIM, THERE IS NOTHING MORE! -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
4. All the elements respond to Christ, He is Lord of all!
a. Because He is Lord of all there is always hope for us as His children, who knows what the Lord will do? We have the freedom to come to Him to ask!
b. The most hopeless situation therefore always has hope because God’s power is not to be discounted!
B. God’s People 77:20
1. While God may do the miraculous directly, it is also true that He uses people at times to be a part of those miracles!
a. Here Asaph mentions that God’s
miraculous power helped them cross the
b. God also gave them Moses and Aaron, two people to minister to them!
2. Miracles often include people as part of God’s plan!
a. Such things like healing, many times God may use doctors and nurses and others as a part of the miracle!
b. Don’t eliminate any path God might choose, He may use someone with a financial gift, etc.
3. While we pray for a miracle stay open to the means God might use to receive the answer, including the use of people, this sometimes enables the Gospel to be spread through the use of people!
ILLUS: SUCH AS THE
TIME WHEN A HIGH SCHOOL CUT THEIR ATHLETIC BUDGET AT AN
4. God may use you sometime to be a part of a miracle for someone else or you may be on the receiving end of God using someone else to be a miracle for you.
a. God is still very active in miracles.
b. Just remember them, and those from the past!
CONCLUSION: Hope for the future is impossible without memories from the past! God never changes, so the same God who did miracles before can still do miracles today! This past track record of God gives us strength in the present, and hope for the future. Miracles keep hope in the most hopeless situations. If we fail to remember the miracles of the past however we will be doomed for despair both now and tomorrow, be sure to remember the miracles!