I’m not talking about a physical condition. I’m not referring to people who have a chemical imbalance or mental illness. I’m talking about Christians who, from time to time, battle a depression that hits them from out of nowhere. Their condition often comes not from just a single source, but from many. At times they’re hit from all sides, until they’re so overwhelmed they can’t see beyond their despair.
If this describes you, then Psalm 77 was written for you. It is meant to point the way out of your distress and fear. This Psalm was written by a man named Asaph, a Levite, from the priestly line in Israel. Asaph was also a singer, and served as David’s appointed choir director. Altogether, Asaph wrote eleven Psalms. And they were so filled with righteous instruction for God’s people I would call this man a lay preacher.
Asaph wrote Psalm 77 after he fell into a horrible pit of despair. His condition grew so bad that Asaph was beyond comfort: “My soul refused to be comforted” (Psalm 77:2). This godly man was in such despair, nothing anyone said could bring him out of his condition. And Asaph himself couldn’t manage to say even a word: “I am so troubled that I cannot speak” (77:4).
Yet Asaph was a praying man. We see this in the same Psalm, as he testifies, “I cried unto God with my voice…and he gave ear unto me” (77:1).
I’m sure Asaph had heard David’s very similar testimony, in Psalm 34: “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry” (34:15). David says earlier in this Psalm, “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears…. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles” (34:4, 6).
No doubt, Asaph had heard David tell the compelling story of how he had to flee to Gath to get away from Saul. David had to pretend he was a madman in that town to escape with his life. This exiled servant of the Lord felt so low at that point, like such a great failure, that he cried out to God. He sought the Lord in his agony, and David testifies that he was totally delivered. In fact, God put a song in David’s heart.
We see David relating a new song of faith to his musicians, in Psalm 40. Surely this song made its way into the hands of Asaph, the choir director. The Psalm declares, “He…heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings” (40:1–2).
As the nation’s worship leader, Asaph sang these songs about deliverance and answered prayers. He ministered these very truths to Israel, arranging and declaring them in song, leading the choir in a unified voice of faith. In fact, in his own worship song — Psalm 78 — Asaph chastises Israel for their unbelief. He corrects them, telling them God hadn’t answered their prayers because of their sin:
“Their spirit was not steadfast with God. They spoke against God, saying, ‘Can the Lord furnish a table in the wilderness? Can he give bread also?’ For all this, they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works. They limited the Holy One of Israel. They provoked and grieved him” (see Psalm 78).
Yet now Asaph was facing his own battle. The Bible doesn’t tell us what caused this man’s depression. All we know is, his soul was so heavy he couldn’t sleep at all: “Thou holdest mine eyes waking” (77:4).
About David Wilkerson
David Wilkerson was the Founding Pastor of Times Square Church in New York City. He was called to New York in 1958 to minister to gang members and drug addicts, as told in the best-selling book, The Cross and the Switchblade.
In 1987, David Wilkerson returned to "the crossroads of the world" to establish Times Square Church. As a pastor of the church, he faithfully led this congregation, delivering powerful biblical messages that encourage righteous living and complete reliance on God.
David Wilkerson had a strong burden to encourage and strengthen pastors throughout the world. From 1999 to 2008, he traveled around the globe holding conferences for Christian ministers.
Posted with written permission of Time Square Church
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