How Long, O Lord?
Lord, help me to remember Your promises and Your deeds of faithfulness.
Read PSALM 74
1 O God, why have you rejected us forever?
Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?
2 Remember the nation you purchased long ago,
the people of your inheritance, whom you redeemed—
Mount Zion, where you dwelt.
3 Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins,
all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary.
4 Your foes roared in the place where you met with us;
they set up their standards as signs.
5 They behaved like men wielding axes
to cut through a thicket of trees.
6 They smashed all the carved paneling
with their axes and hatchets.
7 They burned your sanctuary to the ground;
they defiled the dwelling place of your Name.
8 They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!”
They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land.
9 We are given no signs from God;
no prophets are left,
and none of us knows how long this will be.
10 How long will the enemy mock you, God?
Will the foe revile your name forever?
11 Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?
Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!
12 But God is my King from long ago;
he brings salvation on the earth.
13 It was you who split open the sea by your power;
you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.
14 It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan
and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert.
15 It was you who opened up springs and streams;
you dried up the ever-flowing rivers.
16 The day is yours, and yours also the night;
you established the sun and moon.
17 It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
you made both summer and winter.
18 Remember how the enemy has mocked you, Lord,
how foolish people have reviled your name.
19 Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts;
do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.
20 Have regard for your covenant,
because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.
21 Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace;
may the poor and needy praise your name.
22 Rise up, O God, and defend your cause;
remember how fools mock you all day long.
23 Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries,
the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow do you cope when God seems not to be doing anything about his suffering world?
When God seems silent, or inactive, faith is appallingly difficult to hold on to. We can find this quite depressing unless we realize that it is not the end of the story. So be heartened.
The writer of this psalm is nothing but honest. He says what he feels (1–3) and questions “why?” He speaks out about what he has seen in the desecration of the sanctuary (4–8). He laments the lack of support (9) and the vigorous action he might have expected from God (10). He does not exactly blame God for it all, but he is deeply hurt that the God who created the world and gave his people the covenant is being made fun of by “foolish people” (18–23). He pleads for God to act and to defend his cause.
We can be encouraged that, even in the midst of his depression, the psalmist has stated categorically that the Lord is the God of the night as well as of the day (16). Bleakness is not the same as blackness. God can change things for the better (12,22). That is the hope for all who are downcast, and there is every reason to believe that the Lord will deliver on his promises.
God has done it before. Trust him to do it again.
God, remind me of Your faithfulness in my life as I face any challenges today.