Study Guide – Psalm 77:16-20



16 When the Red Sea saw you, O God,
    its waters looked and trembled!
    The sea quaked to its very depths.
17 The clouds poured down rain;
    the thunder rumbled in the sky.
    Your arrows of lightning flashed.
18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;
    the lightning lit up the world!
    The earth trembled and shook.
19 Your road led through the sea,
    your pathway through the mighty waters—
    a pathway no one knew was there!
20 You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,
    with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds. NLT


This psalm began with the revelation of the writer’s incredible sense of despair. The writer seemed frustrated, isolated, and lost in his relationship with God. And yet, the psalm ends with a remembrance of what God has done for others in the past. For this study, take a moment to walk through writer’s imaginative descriptions of God’s actions in verses 16-20.


Next, return to each phrase in each verse and consider how these vivid descriptions could become an encouragement to the writer in the midst of his despair.


Why do you think the writer ends without a concluding remark? [Hint: consider the writer’s words back in verse 1]



This psalm ends without a neatly packaged application. Why do you think several psalms leave us hanging like this? How does this unfinished spiritual practice actually serve to help us keep growing in our faith? Take a moment to respond to this discovery in prayer.

Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

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