Word of Encouragement

 

ESV Psalm 77:19-20: Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

 

Dear Congregation of KCPC,

 

Have you ever asked these questions: “Has God’s steadfast love toward me ceased?” or “Has God forgotten to be gracious to me?” (Psalm 77:8-9).

 

Honestly, have you ever wondered if God has forgotten you?

 

Do you have times when you think because of the difficulty you are going through that God must not love you?  Are you tempted to despair and discouragement because you are so overwhelmed?

 

Perhaps you confess that God is great and good, and you confess that God is Sovereign, but in reality, in the actual way you are living from day to day, it seems that your situation looks so hopeless that you are often living functionally as if there was no God? Perhaps you’re being tempted right now to believe that God could not love you and you feel so overwhelmed by your circumstances, and you’re even tempted to question the way God has led you.

 

This was the concern the Psalmist had as well (Psalm 77). As a believer, you’re not alone and Psalm 77 has been God-breathed out by the Holy Spirit to encourage you today.

 

In Psalm 77, the Psalmist wondered if God had forgotten him. He wondered if God had forgotten His graciousness, and had shut up His compassion toward him in anger (Psalm 77:9). The Psalmist wondered if God had forgotten His steadfast love toward him. He pondered in prayer if God had come to the end of keeping His promises (Psalm 77:7-8).

 

Sometimes God’s people can be so troubled by present circumstances that we can forget that the LORD’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). We must remind ourselves that the way the LORD leads us is “through the sea” (Psalm 77:19).  God shows His power and love and faithfulness to His people by leading them His way “through the sea”. When the Psalmist speaks of “the sea” in this Psalm, he is referring to God’s people when led through the Red Sea from slavery to the place where they would experience God’s greater presence and learn to worship and serve Him. God taught His people by bringing them “through the sea” that His ways are better ways, although they seem extremely difficult at times.

 

God brings us “through the sea” not to discourage us, but to encourage us to greater trust in His Word and Works on our behalf. He calls us to go “through the sea” not to discourage us but to humble us, so that we might learn to better depend upon Him, and so that we can experience His greater presence and learn to worship and serve Him more wholeheartedly. God’s purposes are for His glory and our good (Romans 8:28). We can rejoice because although the situations God leads us through can seem overwhelmingly difficult, we can walk through them as we know that He leads us and shepherds us as our kind and loving Lord.

 

Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, was led “through the sea”. The LORD Jesus Christ on our behalf was led by God the Father and with the power of the Spirit’s presence through the pain of suffering the torment of crucifixion, being crushed by the wrath of Almighty God, so that we could be forgiven by the shed blood of Jesus for our sins. Christ was led the way of the cross “through the sea” for us so that we could be reconciled to God and to trust and walk with God all the days of our lives and for all eternity.

 

Israel in the Old Covenant was led through the sea, from slavery and death to sonship and life. The New Covenant reality this pointed to was for God’s people to be led through the cross from death to life in union with our Savior, the precious Lord Jesus, who delivered us from slavery and made us sons in Him (Colossians 1:13-14).

 

The imagery that the Psalmist uses in Psalm 77:20 is important for our encouragement today. We are told that the Lord “led your people like a flock”. The important truth is that although God’s paths, God’s ways are higher than our ways, and not the way we would take, these ways are ordained for our deliverance and salvation. We have yet to be fully conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, we have yet to fully make it to the Promised Land, and so God’s way is “through the sea” (Psalm 77:19). It is “through the sea”, now in Christ through carrying our cross that the Lord Jesus accomplishes, perfects, and prepares us for the place He is already preparing for us for all eternity (John 14:6).

 

Although we feel forsaken, we are actually be shepherded by the Lord Jesus Christ through sanctification. We are His flock the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100).

 

So when you look around you today and you are led into circumstances that may frighten you, or test your faith, or cause you to wonder if God has forgotten His graciousness toward you, remember the God who works wonders, and who delights in revealing His power and might through our weakness. Listen to the hope of the Psalmist that is ours in Christ Jesus:

 

ESV Psalm 77:11-14: I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.

 

Remember God’s love for you revealed in Jesus; remember the perfect deeds of Jesus Christ who earned the righteousness for you that you could never attain and freely gives His perfect righteousness to you by faith. Remember God’s “wonders of old” (Psalm 77:11) throughout redemptive history, but especially as you focus on the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, and ponder this work, meditate on God’s mighty deeds. Remember that God’s way is holy; it is perfect.

 

Then worship and praise Him in the midst of your circumstances knowing that God is faithful to you and will never forget His people!

 

If you are being pursued by evil one himself, being persecuted for your faith and all that you can see before you is a great sea that you must cross, ponder God’s ways, remember that He is leading you this way, and that He will shepherd you as your sweet Lord; confess this: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not ever need anything but Him” (Psalm 23 paraphrased).

 

If you are being led to carry the cross of Jesus Christ, and you are being crucified and have cried aloud to God, and your soul refuses to be comforted, and even your thoughts of God are causing you to moan because of your trouble (Psalm 77:1-4), ponder the death and resurrection of your Savior who has gone before you, who has died and been raised for you.

 

Ponder the love of God in Christ Jesus and how he calls us to follow Him carrying our cross because He is the Great Shepherd who has sought us and bought us and redeemed us by His precious blood!

 

When you ask the questions: “Has God’s steadfast love toward me ceased?” or “Has God forgotten to be gracious to me?” Look to Christ on the cross for you and behold His love for you! See on the cross of Jesus Christ that God’s steadfast love can NEVER CEASE; God can NEVER FORGET to be gracious to you. You have His word; you have His works shown to you in Jesus.

 

And if you are still wondering how you might live praising Him in the midst of your particular way “through the sea” look to how God did not forget His Son.  Christ came to live and die for His dearly beloved people. Christ laid down His life for us, and after being crushed by God’s wrath for our sins, in our place, Jesus was placed in a tomb. The way of the tomb is not hopeful; Jesus remained under the power of death for our sins for three days! In this situation, the way looks hopeless and impossible. Unless God Almighty, our Great God and Savior is the Shepherd. Then even the way through the tomb cannot stop God from shepherding us to victory!

 

God remembered Christ and on the third day He rose gloriously from the dead. Through the sea, Christ received the victory of resurrection and glorification. We too who believe, although our paths are fraught with difficult times and circumstances, will also see the glory of the Lord in the Land of the Living and be resurrected and glorified.

 

Let us hope in God.

 

Build your faith today, beloved congregation of Jesus, by pondering the words and works of God in Christ for us.

 

His way is through the sea. You haven’t lost your way for He is shepherding you. He says to you: “Follow me” and “Trust me”.

 

You may not feel His presence right now, and you may not see His footprints, but you can be confident in Jesus Christ that He is carrying you every step of the way.

 

ESV Psalm 77:19-20: Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

 

Ponder the love of God for you.

 

IN Christ’s love,

 

Pastor Biggs

 

PS I will have more later this week on our WOE study from how we can be Assessed, Aligned and Aim through studying the seven churches of Revelation.

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