The psalm begins with a cry of distress: the psalmist has been experiencing profound difficulties, and his cries to God appear to have been ignored; only his memories of the past seem to bring anything even resembling joy. However, the psalmist then remembers God's integrity and realises that the failure of his hopes is the result of misplaced expectations of God's actions, rather than God's failure to act. Recalling God's actions in the past and his rule even over the natural world, he concludes with praise.
Coming from an evangelical Protestant perspective, Charles Spurgeon deemed the psalm the words of a single individual, in contrast to others who had interpreted it as representing the voice of the nation: "It utterly destroys all the beauty, all the tenderness and depth of feeling in the opening portion, if we suppose that the people are introduced speaking in the first person." John Calvin observes parallels to certain other biblical poetry, such as Psalm 118:18 and the hymn in the final chapter of Habakkuk: according to Calvin, the three share a common theme of becoming aware of ultimate divine deliverance from seemingly intractable terrors.
The following songs are based on Psalm 77 or contain parts of the Psalm:
- In het diepst van de nacht - Peter van Essen (Dutch song)