WORD STUDY – SONG OF FAITH – נגנה
Psalms 77:2: “In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.”
The title of this Psalm attributes it to Asaph. Little is known about Asaph. The traditional view is that he the chief musician. However, I always had problems with that because a chief musician would have lived a sheltered life and this old boy seems to have gone through some real trials. But, he’s an artist and an artist suffers. Still it is a little odd that someone who wrote 12 Psalms (50, 73-83) would not have had more biographical information given about him.
I tend to lean more towards my liberal brethren’s viewpoint which is that Asaph was an office and not one person. Although, there were individuals named Asaph, when applied to the Psalms it was really not a person but a religious sect or a musical sect. More than that it was a group of prophets who prophesied through music. Ok, am I getting some of you to warm up to my foray into liberalism? Actually, when you look at these twelve Psalms through textual criticism, which incorporates the style and various Hebrew dialects, of these twelve Psalms you find it is impossible to believe it could have been written by the same person. It would have had to encompass people from various points of geographical origin. These musically gifted people formed a little club (let’s call it that) and call themselves Asaphites. Like I said the Asaphites were a prophetic group. Even my liberal friends own up to that. I often wonder if in these last days we will see a new Asaphite movement where musically gifted prophets will arise and minister to the saints who are going through deep trials. Perhaps they exist today.
The word asaph in its root form means a harvest or a fulfilled prophecy. It is believed by some that it could come from a Semitic root meaning a portal. Thus, the Ashaphites may have called themselves by this name to suggest that their music helps to open a portal to the heavenly realm. If quantum physics has anything to say about it they teach that music is simply vibrations, everything has a certain vibration and hence God created the world through vibrations. When the vibrations of music comes close to the creative vibrations of God, a portal to the heavenly realm could open or possibly it could help usher in fulfilled prophecy. Remember in Luke 8:46 where the woman with the issue of blood touched Jesus and he said that power or virtue went out from him. In the Aramaic that word is chayla which means vibrations. But I digress, back to Psalms 77.
Look at Psalms 77, particularly at verse 2, can you relate? I believe more and more in these troubled times believers will begin to relate to the Psalms of the Asaphites or these vibrators.
“In the day of trouble.” I’ve talked about this word trouble or sarar which means a distress, a distress so great that you can’t think, you can’t enjoy anything, you can’t sleep, all you do is think about your trouble. That is sarar. We all go through it. So you seek the Lord, but nothing seems to happen. Your “sore runs into the night.” The word sore is yad which means hand or could also mean human strength. This runs into the night and does not cease. The word runs is nagar which has the idea of being poured out. The word cease is pug which is used in an imperfect tense. Pug has the idea of being chilled or frozen. Water runs until it is frozen then it stops. Thus his strength is being poured out into the night then freezes. Night is the worst. During the day you have many distractions but at night there are no distractions and your sarar (trouble) really takes hold of you at that point and chills you to the bone. Your soul at that point refuses to be comforted.
Ever feel that way? If you do this Psalm is for you. Check out the prophetic word that is given in this song found in verse 6: “I call to remembrance my song in the night.” The word song here is neganah. The root word is nagan spelled Nun, Gimmel and Nun. This is a song that keeps repeating itself. Ever have one of those tunes in your head and you can’t get it out. That’s a neganah. Only this tune that keeps repeating itself is one of faith and lovingkindness.
I could picture the Asaphites singing this song or Psalm. It would start off slow and melancholy then as you approach verse 6 it picks up to a regular Fats Waller catchy rhythm with hand clapping and dancing. Before long that tune get’s stuck in your head and you keep singing it over and over and over and can’t get it out of your head. But that is good, because it is a tune of the Spirit of God that delivers you from your sarar (trouble).
So next time you go through a sarar a troubled mind and you can’t sleep or you can’t enjoy anything, ask the Spirit of God to give you a neganah a song of faith. I recall the story of a young man who was engaged to a young woman who was not very attractive but had a beautiful musical voice. She would sing in church and he would sit back and enjoy her beautiful song. He would motion to the guy next to him: “Yep, that’s my girl.” After they got married and the first morning together his new bride came downstairs in a robe, no make up, hair disarray and the reality set in. He thought to himself, “What have I done.” He ran up to her, thinking fast, “Why do I love her, yes,” He grabbed her and said; “Sing!”
A song is God’s gift to us to sooth our troubled souls. Make use of it, allow God to give you a neganah.