When Syrian king Sennacherib invaded northern Israel, many of Asaph’s descendants fled south to Judah to become involved in the temple music ministry there. They had seen how Israel slowly decayed into an idolatrous nation, and when this despot came roaring in their new gods could not save them. But now that same heathen monarch wanted to take over Judah as well. One of Asaph’s sons now feared that the humiliation Israel suffered in Samaria under these idol worshipers would become Judah’s fate in Jerusalem. But, inspired by the prophet Habakkuk’s writings he composed a song about standing on God’s promises.

I admit, sometimes I yell when I pray to make sure my One True God hears and pays attention to me. For whenever I am stressed I run straight to my Heavenly Master. Yet, though my heart was bleeding inside and my eyes were streaming with tears all night it didn’t seem to help. I try my best to understand why my One True God doesn’t answer, but it just makes me that much more miserable and fainthearted. Questioning You, O Master, keeps my eyes open all night; I’m so frustrated it leaves me speechless. This causes me to think back on the good old days years and years ago. During the night I begin to hum the songs I used to sing and I reflect on those times and I began to wonder what happened. ‘Will my Master abandon me? Does He still care? Does He still love me? Has He forgotten what He promised me? Has He no pity, no compassion?’ Then it dawned on me, I may have brought all this on myself. It’s not Him; He hasn’t changed; He’s still the same. Then I recalled the wonderful things my Master did for me and decided to write them down and think them over. I concluded, our One True God is unchangeable; there’s no god like Him; He’s the One who makes things happen; He’s the one who shows everyone how great He is; nothing can ever stand in His way.” Psalm 77:1-14

Reflection: Years ago a football coach took his team into the locker room at halftime trailing the other team by three touchdowns. He stared at his players sitting around with their heads down; with desperate looks clouding their faces. After getting their attention he told them with a calm and reassuring voice, “I don’t mind when my men get knocked down, run over, and laid out flat trying to win a game. But when they refuse to stand back up, that’s when I know we’ve lost any chance to win. But even if we do lose, as long as I know you will keep standing back up I’ll be proud of you; your parents, friends, and fans will be proud of you.” One by one he asked each player, “If you are ready to go back out and try your best to win, stand up!” Soon the whole team was on their feet. They charged back out on the field and won the game. Just like the coach, the Psalmist knew that God did not promise we would never get knocked down, but He did promise to always be there to help us stand back up and keep going; He was not going to give up on us, even if we gave up on ourselves. However, He leaves the decision to get back on our feet up to us. Remember, if you want to be on the mountain top, you must first go through a valley to get there; if you want to be victorious, first you must fight a battle. So, to follow the coach’s advice and be like the Psalmist in letting God help you triumph, you must accept the responsibility to stand up and follow Him. No path God selects for us to follow ever leads to defeat, they all lead to victory. That’s what should motivate us; that’s what should encourage us to always stand back up and tell the Lord, I’m ready to go on because I know You will go with me.

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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