I praise You, my King, who brings salvation to the earth (12).
Read Psalm 74
A maskil[a] of Asaph.
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.
a Psalm 74:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term
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.
ReflectDo you consider God the strength of your heart and your portion forever? (Psalm 73:26, NIV).
There are clear exilic references in this psalm, as well as the one from last Sunday. In particular, the psalmist recalls the overthrow of the nation under Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24, 25). His sense of despair at the destruction and loss, and his confusion and grief at God’s (apparent) eternal rejection of them as his people are palpable (9–11).
But even though he really does seem to think God has rejected them forever (1), he just cannot bring himself to abandon God. Verse 12 lights a candle-flame in the darkness of the desperate situation, and encourages him to remember who God is (13–17). The reminder of the power and control of God over his creation extends into a request for that same power to protect and defend those in need (19–21). And verse 18 onwards could have been prayed by Mordecai and by Esther as she fasted before going to the king. Despite all the fear of the future, faith in God underpins their actions and the psalmist’s plea.
“The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). Can you say this Psalm truthfully? Do you live in fear of God or fear of man? How does your faith meter measure?
God, I pray for those I know whose situation is threatening or difficult in any way. Be their light and salvation, as they trust You.