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Psalm 77; 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Psalm 77; 2 Corinthians 12:8-10


1. General Information about Asaph and the Psalm

(a) In Psalm 73, Asaph drifted away from the Lord by looking at the material prosperity of the wealthy but regained a godly perspective about his life by coming back to the sanctuary of God

(b) In Psalm 77, Asaph turned inward toward self-pity and self-preoccupation and suffered sleeplessness, but gained a complete reliance on God by recounting God’s work in the past

(c) Psalm 77 is symmetrical in structure¬—Till verse 9, he revolves around himself and from verse 11, he revolves around God, and verse 10 is the axis of the symmetry

(d) This psalm does not have a formal conclusion. It probably is a poetic device to show that the psalmist who suffered sleeplessness suddenly fell asleep as he continued recounting

2. Observation

(a) Sleeplessness (vv. 1-6)—The psalmist faced a personal crisis and wanted God to help him, but he did not receive an answer from God immediately, which gave him sleepless nights

(b) Self-pity (vv. 1-6)—The psalmist became too pre-occupied with himself and probably developed self-pity. The whole world appeared to revolve around him

(b1) Eleven “I”s
(b2) “I stretched out untiring hands,” “my soul refused to be comforted,” etc.

(c) Rejection (vv. 7-9)—When the psalmist did not receive what he wanted from the Lord, he turned bitter against God

(c1) The psalmist doubted God’s loyalty, graciousness, and His compassion toward him—he appears to have gone through “rejection”
(c2) In this process, he questions the very character of God (cf. Exodus 34:6-7) [pre-occupation with self results in doubts about God]

(d) Healing (vv. 11-20)—Just as the psalmist had a transformation in Psalm 73 when he went to the Temple (cf. 17), in this psalm, he came to his senses when he began to remember the past

(e) The psalmist was healed of his sleeplessness—note the abrupt ending of the psalm

3. Similar situation in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)

(a) Apostle Paul cried to God three times, but God did not provide to him what he wanted
(b) Instead of developing “self-pity” Apostle Paul understood that God would not work against his wellbeing
(c) In other words, God has a purpose in letting him have a “thorn in the flesh”
(d) Therefore, he decided to align his will with God’s plan instead of forcing God to align with him

(e) Apostle Paul developed a theology of “thorn in the flesh”

(e1) Unanswered prayers are not bad
(e2) “Thorn in the flesh” may be God’s platform to reveal His power

4. Take Away

(a) As frequently as possible, recount how God worked in your life in the past
(b) Learn to align your will with the plans of God instead of forcing God to align with you