Drowning In Worry - The One Year Book of Psalms

Drowning In Worry

Psalm 78:9-16

9The warriors of Ephraim, though fully armed,

turned their backs and fled when the day of battle came.

10They did not keep God’s covenant,

and they refused to live by his law.

11They forgot what he had done—

the wonderful miracles he had shown them,

12the miracles he did for their ancestors in Egypt, on the plain of Zoan.

13For he divided the sea before them and led them through!

The water stood up like walls beside them!

14In the daytime he led them by a cloud,

and at night by a pillar of fire.

15He split open the rocks in the wilderness

to give them plenty of water, as from a gushing spring.

16He made streams pour from the rock,

making the waters flow down like a river!

Jesus’ disciples were crossing the sea in a fishing boat, with Jesus zonked out in a corner. Presumably he had had a long day of teaching and healing and needed some sleep. But then a terrible storm came up, with waves splashing into the boat. Even these experienced fishermen were terrified. “Jesus, wake up! We’re drowning!”

The master opened his eyes and said to the storm, “Quiet down!” And it did. Then, perhaps as he settled back to sleep, he asked his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?” (Mark 4:35-40).

Jesus’ disciples had seen him cure leprosy, paralysis, and blindness. He had cast out demons and turned water into wine. If Jesus possessed this kind of power and was in the boat with them, why should they worry about a Galilean squall?

In today’s passage Psalm 78 mentions an event we know nothing about. The tribe of Ephraim was especially strong among the tribes of Israel, but in this case they were cowards, turning and running before their foes. But why were they afraid? Hadn’t they seen the mighty works of God? Didn’t they know that the God who drowned the Egyptians and tamed the desert would continue to fight alongside them?

Take courage in whatever squall you are facing today, knowing that your powerful Lord is fighting for you.

O Holy Father, who hast led thy children

In all the ages with the fire and cloud,

Through seas dry-shod, through weary wastes bewild’ring,

To thee in rev’rent love our hearts are bowed.


Often when Scripture uses the imagery of a rock, as in verses 15-16, you can think of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 10:4 Paul alludes to the same story that’s mentioned here in Psalm 78—water from the rock—but he adds, “and that rock was Christ.” This, of course, has given the church some rich imagery over the centuries. Christ has been called the rock of ages, the rock of Israel, the rock of our salvation, the rock of refuge, the rock of strength, and the rock that is higher than I—just to name a few.

“History is of no use if we don’t remember it. The rich heritage of God’s mighty works gives neither insight nor inspiration if we are ignorant of it.”


From the Book:

The One Year Book of Psalms cover image

The One Year Book of Psalms
By William Petersen, Randy Petersen, and Tyndale

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