Psalm 77:19 Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.

Your footprints were not seen. What's meaningful significance here?

  • We know and perceive God's benevolences on us, however He still retains things that are unknown to us, or sometimes we not understanding the greater plan of God are surprised by what happens through His permission; therefore, even if we can see and perceive certain actions of God, still He remains inscrutable for our limited capacities of understanding, for "His ways are inscrutable" (Ecclesiastes 8:10-12); metaphorically saying, thus, His "footprints are not seen". – Levan Gigineishvili Nov 21 '20 at 12:56

The psalmist speaks of how God led Moses, Aaron and Israel to safety by parting the waters that had them trapped as the Egyptian forces advanced upon them. God led them to safety but God himself was not seen.

No footprint on the exposed bed of the sea showed them the way forward. The Israelites had to step out in faith, trusing in God.

As verse 20 concludes:

You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

This reminds me of something I read many years ago. I don't know who wrote it or if it is copyright protected or not; and I hope it's ok for me to post it here. It's called "Footprints in the Sand":

One night I dreamed a dream as I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints. This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.

"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you you would walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life there was only one set of footprints. I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."

He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you."


In Ps 77, Asaph expresses the inscrutable aspects of YHWH God such as:

  • God is creator (V11)
  • God is holy (13)
  • God is great (V11, 12)
  • God is omnipotent(V14)
  • God is redeemer (V15)
  • God controls nature including water (V16), Clouds (V17), and the earth (V18)
  • God leads His people (V19, 20)

However, the central point is that uttered by Jesus in John 4:24, "God is Spirit" and as such He is invisible (John 1:18, 6:46, 1 John 4:12, Heb 11:3, 27, Col 1:15, 1 Tim 1:17, Rom 1:20, etc). Therefore, when God led the Israelites through the sea, He left no foot prints - they were led by God's presence via the pillar of cloud or fire (Ex 13:21, 22, 14:24, Deut 1:33, Neh 9:15, 19, 14:14, Ps 78:14, etc)

Thus, Ps 77:19 is an indirect reminder of these facts. Benson reaches the same conclusion:

Psalm 77:19. Thy way is in the sea, &c. — Or rather, was, at that time; thou didst walk and lead thy people in untrodden paths; and thy footsteps — Or, though thy footsteps were not seen — God walked before his people through the sea, though he left no footsteps of himself behind him. Thus “the dispensations and ways of God, like the passage through the Red sea, are all full of mercy to his people; but they are also, like that, often unusual, marvellous, inscrutable; and we can no more trace his footsteps than we could have done those of Israel, after the waters had returned to their place again. Let us resolve, therefore, to trust in him at all times; and let us think that we hear Moses saying to us, as he did to the Israelites, when seemingly reduced to the last extremity, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah.” — Horne.

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary adds another insight:

  1. waters … , footsteps—may refer to His actual leading the people through the sea, though also expressing the mysteries of providence.

Barnes agrees:

And thy footsteps are not known - The word rendered "footsteps" means properly the print made by the "heel," and the print made by the foot. The idea here is, that there are no traces in regard to many of the dealings of God, which appear most incomprehensible to us, and which trouble us most, as there can be no footprints left in the waters. We should not venture, therefore, to sit in judgment on the doings of God, or presume that we can understand them.

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