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Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by John Nelson Darby, [1857-62], at

Psalms Chapter 77

In Psalm 77 we have spiritual deliverance and restored confidence. He cried with his voice to God, and God gave ear to him. To cry with the voice is more than to have a wish. A cry is the expression of weakness, dependence, recourse had to God, the reference of the soul to God, even of uprightness of heart. In the day of trouble, it was not merely complaint, irritation, anger; but "I sought the Lord," Adonai, not Jehovah. His first thought was whether the Lord would cast off for ever (Psa 77:7-9); for here he, as often remarked in the Psalms, is going through the process which led to the statements of the first verses. [See Note #1] In Verse 10 (Psa 77:10) he judges himself in the thought, and remembered those years in which the power of Jehovah, the covenant God of Israel, the Most High of the fathers, was displayed (compare the remark, Verse 5 Psa 77:5). The way of God is always and necessarily according to His own most blessed and holy nature, and understood in the secret place in which He makes known His thoughts to those in communion with Him. His way is according to that place, in which He judges His people according to His present relationship with them. (Hence the place of the interpreter, one among a thousand). The ways of God are the application of the divine principles of His holy nature, owned as placing Himself in relationship with His people, according to which principles that relationship must be maintained. That is His sanctuary. There is where He is approached. Thence He deals with His people, not merely in outward guidance, but as making good in His majesty the principles of His nature (so far as revealed) in the hidden man of the heart. [See Note #2] He deals in the holy place of His nature and majesty with us in the truth of our stateour real, moral, inward state. He does not deviate from these ways, nor compromise the majesty they make good. But they (though according to His nature) are carried out in a revealed relationship. They make good His nature and majesty in it, but never infringe it. Man in relationship with Him must suit himself to it, must walk in his inward state with Him in it; but God, if He deals according to it, purifies him for it, shows the evil, hides pride from man in order to bless him, but makes good His own majesty. Hence the heart in the evil turns back to that which formed the relationship in redemption (Psa 77:14-18).

Israel or the godly remnant is not in the enjoyment here of covenant blessings, but, when distressed, looks back by faith to a time which recalls the power of Him who cannot change. The comfort of the soul is, that God's way is in the sanctuary, according to the nature and ways of God Himself, so far as He is revealed. If I look out to judge as man, His way is in the seaI cannot trace it; His footsteps are not known, for who can follow out Him who disposes of all things with a thought? We do know God's own nature and character in relation to us by faith, and can reckon on it, as to all He does, as faithful and unchangeable; but we cannot know and judge His ways in themselves. Hence the unbeliever is discontented and will blame God; the believer is happy, because he has the key to all, in what the God is whom he knows, and on whose ordering of all things he can count. It must be according to what God is. He does not order all things contrary to what He is; but He is for us and therefore orders all things for us makes all things work together for good. He leads His people like sheep. In Psalm 73 the tried one learned the end of his outward enemies, who prospered while he was chastened. Here he learns the ways of God with himself.

But this psalm is practically both interesting and instructive. The soul away from the enjoyment of divine blessing, is awakened by grace to cry to God, the sense of the loss of these blessings pressing upon it. He seeks the Lord, and this presses the trouble, as it ever does, on him; he feels where he is, his soul refused comfort; but the thought of God is a source of trouble, for if faith is awakened, conscience is too, which mingled with the loss of blessing, and the spirit overwhelmed; his soul is kept in wakeful consciousness of where he is. He thinks of bright days of old when the "candle of the Lord shone upon" him. Had God given him up, forgotten to be gracious and shut up His lovingkindness in displeasure? Can he think that God has given him up, and he one of His people! This brought God Himself into his mind. How could it be all over with him? It was his own infirmity; and he turns back to the years of the right hand of the Most High. He remembers Jehovah's works. In reaching Jehovah with his own humbled spirit, he reached One who was for His people ever and who had wrought for them and redeemed them of old. He, their God, became the source of his thoughts, not his own state towards Him. Then His being their God made it so dreadful. Then he can think and judge rightly of His ways too. They are in the sea not to be tracked by man's foot, but in the sanctuary always according to His nature and character, and accomplishing His purposes in good.

Note #1

This, if noticed, makes many psalms easy to understand, which would otherwise be difficult; because sorrow and distress follow after the confidence, but it is really what the spirit passed through in reaching it.

Note #2

This supposes, of course, truth in the inward parts, conversion.

Next: Psalms Chapter 78