Psalm 77 and Psalm 78 have something in common that you may have never noticed before. They both end with a declaration of God leading His people by means of chosen leaders. Both Psalms are attributed to Asaph, most likely a member of the priestly line of Levite who was also a part of the temple singers. The Psalms are Hebrew poetry and often could be sung as a way of instructing the people and as a form of praise back to God.
Psalm 77 depicts a person in trouble. His sorrow seems unable to be comforted. He turns to remembering God’s past deeds as hope towards present deliverance. Ultimately he recounts God’s mighty actions in saving the Israelite nation from the Egyptians as they passed through the Red Sea. The Red Sea experience is a climatic moment for the nation of Israel. It is referenced often throughout the Old Testament. But notice how it ends.
Verses 19-20 state, “Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”
With their backs against the Red Sea and the Egyptians baring down on them, they were struggling to discern the path by which God would lead them. God chose to use two leaders to provide the way. Moses and Aaron were the human instruments of deliverance. They were the ones who made clear the way and will of God in the midst of desperate circumstances.
Psalm 78 also recounts a portion of Israel’s history in the Old Testament. It reveals the gracious dealings of God and the resulting acts of unfaithfulness on behalf of israel. This Psalm also makes reference to the Red Sea experience. But it takes Israel’s history a step further in recounting the provision of the Promised Land. Yet, Israel continued in her rebellion and sin. God used the surrounding nations as prods to call Israel to repentance. Ultimately we see God’s grace in abundance again as He chooses to deliver Israel from her intruders by way of a human leader.
Verses 70-72 say, “He chose David his servant and took his from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.”
There is much we could ruminate on in both of these Psalms related to leadership. Sometimes God acts unilaterally. Most of the time He uses leaders. When Israel was in need of great deliverance, God used leaders to make his will known and his rescue sure. When Israel was hopeless, God used leaders to advance his salvation history and point his people toward a certain future. It has always been this way. God constantly chooses leaders, both great and small, known and unknown, to advance His kingdom and bring hope to His people. Take heart in that He wants to use even you and me.