Psalm 77 … Consider His Unchanging Right Hand

Originally posted: 11/07/2020

Then I said, “It is my grief,
That the right hand of the Most High has changed,”

There is no question about the psalmist’s mental and emotional condition from the very outset of this psalm.

My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud;
My voice rises to God, and He will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord;
In the night my hand was stretched out without weariness;
My soul refused to be comforted,

We don’t know for how long, but from his opening statement, we know the psalmist is in a day of trouble. And we also know he has made his trouble known to the Lord, regularly.

Trouble. Grief. Delayed answers. Definite hindrances to hope. And in this place, the psalmist sinks into imagining the worst possible case scenario, questioning and predicting his future based solely on the events currently happening in his life.

Will the Lord reject forever?
And will He never be favorable again?
Has His lovingkindness ceased forever?
Has His promise come to an end forever?
Has God forgotten to be gracious,
Or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion? Selah,

While scholars are not conclusively convinced of the meaning of “Selah,” most believe that it is a musical notation that calls for an interlude in order to pause and reflect on what had previously been sung. God’s lovingkindness, grace and compassion are definitely worthy of giving time to reflect and ponder.

But it’s dangerous and slippery ground when we begin to call His promises into question. Questioning God’s promises is a real hope snuffer; and when hope is weakened, faith is in trouble. So what to do when things don’t turn around, when deliverance does not come in a timely fashion?

In his grousing, the psalmist awakens himself to realize the dire ramifications of making assessments from the place of bewilderment, the place of human reasoning, the place of grief.

Then I said, “It is my grief,
That the right hand of the Most High has changed,”

And rather than attempting to call on his own judgment to answer his questions, he chooses another path entirely, and boldly determines to remember and mediate on what he knows to be the Lord’s Unchanging truth.

I shall remember the deeds of the Lord;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12 I will meditate on all Your work
And muse on Your deeds,

I was reminded of one of those scenes in a movie, you know the kind; someone is so distraught and on the verge of hysteria, when suddenly someone slaps them with the command, “Snap out of it!”

Remembering is like that. It’s a good slap in the face that will bring us out of our frenzied panic and refocus our spirit in the calming truth of His Unchanging Right Hand.

“The hand of God, and especially the right hand, is also understood as a place of salvation, refuge, and protection.”

As we consider His Unchanging Right Hand, we are calling to mind His Unchanging salvation, His Unchanging refuge, His Unchanging protection, and His Unchanging truth. And as we consider His Unchanging Right Hand, Scripture points us to our Unchanging Savior, Jesus Christ, Who has taken His rightful place at the Right Hand of His Father.

  • Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever, (Hebrews 13:8).
  • So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God, (Mark 16:19).

(For more on Jesus at the Right Hand of God, see Matthew 22:41-46; Acts 2:33; 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:19-20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22; Revelation 3:21)

Consider His Unchanging Right Hand

  • His Right Hand is Unchanging, awesome in His holiness and power that are beyond compare.
    • Your way, O God, is holy;
      What god is great like our God?

      • The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God,” (Luke 1:35).
      • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men, (John 1:1-4).
      • For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek, (Romans 1:16).
  • His Right Hand is Unchanging, working His wonders and His strength among His people.
    • You are the God who works wonders;
      You have made known Your strength among the peoples,

      •  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, (Ephesians 3:16).
  • His Right Hand is Unchanging, redeeming those who are His for all eternity.
    • You have by Your power redeemed Your people,
      The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah,

      • But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption, (Hebrews 9:11-12).
  • His Right Hand is Unchanging, faithfully preparing His Way, even in our day of trouble, and even if His presence seems undetectable.
    • Your way was in the sea
      And Your paths in the mighty waters,
      And Your footprints may not be known,

      • “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,” (John 14:1-6).
  • His Right Hand is Unchanging, leading His flock as our Faithful Shepherd.
    • You led Your people like a flock
      By the hand of Moses and Aaron,

      • “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd,” (John 10:14-16).

How do we respond to His Unchanging Right Hand?

The psalmist was in danger; in his grief he began to question God’s timing, His favor, His lovingkindness, His promise, His grace, and His compassion; almost as though he needed a good slap in the face to snap him out of it.

We will also find ourselves on shaky ground when we fix our focus on our griefs, doubts, and worries. We must remember that He is Unchanging in His timing, His favor, His lovingkindness, His promise, His grace, and His compassion.

And it is also necessary to remember that He has an Unchanging purpose in all our trials. And the truth is, the greater answer we need, is not His deliverance from our circumstances, but the conforming work He is doing in our character by His Unchanging Right Hand.

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us, (Romans 5:3-5).

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, (James 1:2-4).

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you, (1 Peter 5:10).

And God has faithfully provided means to jog our memory when we find ourselves waiting.

When we find ourselves in a time of affliction, we will be reminded of His Unchanging Right Hand as we seek comfort in His Word.

This is my comfort in my affliction,
That Your word has revived me,
(Psalm 119:50).

When we find ourselves in a time of discouragement, we will be reminded of His Unchanging Right Hand as we gather with other believers. And let us pray we would also be a source of encouragement to others as well.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near, (Hebrews 10:23-25).

When we find ourselves consumed with the questions of why, when, and how in our times of waiting, Praise and Worship music can be a great way to refocus our thoughts and remind ourselves of the truth of the salvation, refuge, and protection we have in His Unchanging Right Hand.

Consider the lyrics from the song, Rattle (Graves into Gardens album):

Saturday was silent
Surely it was through
But since when has impossible
Ever stopped You?

Friday’s disappointment
Is Sunday’s empty tomb
Since when has impossible
Ever stopped You?

The psalmist began this song as a lament, filled with questions that took him down a path of forgetfulness and despair, until he slapped himself with the truth and changed his tune to a song of praise by remembering God’s Unchanging, wondrous deeds.

I shall remember the deeds of the Lord;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12 I will meditate on all Your work
And muse on Your deeds,

But, there is a question worthy of asking; one that is sure to jog our memory, strengthen our faith, and erupt in worship and praise…

… Since when has impossible ever stopped Him and His Unchanging Right Hand?

Let’s Grow Together!

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