Psalm 74

A Contemplation of Asaph.

1 O God, why have You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?

2 Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, the tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed–this Mount Zion where You have dwelt.

3 Lift up Your feet to the perpetual desolations. The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary.

4 Your enemies roar in the midst of Your meeting place; they set up their banners for signs.

5 They seem like men who lift up axes among the thick trees.

6 And now they break down its carved work, all at once, with axes and hammers.

7 They have set fire to Your sanctuary; they have defiled the dwelling place of Your name to the ground.

8 They said in their hearts, “Let us destroy them altogether.” They have burned up all the meeting places of God in the land.

9 We do not see our signs; there is no longer any prophet; nor is there any among us who knows how long.

10 O God, how long will the adversary reproach? Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever?

11 Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand?  Take it out of Your bosom and destroy them.

12 For God is my King from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.

13 You divided the sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the sea serpents in the waters.

14 You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces, and gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.

15 You broke open the fountain and the flood; You dried up mighty rivers.

16 The day is Yours, the night also is Yours; You have prepared the light and the sun.

17 You have set all the borders of the earth; You have made summer and winter.

18 Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O LORD, and that a foolish people has blasphemed Your name.

19 Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtledove to the wild beast! Do not forget the life of Your poor forever.

20 Have respect to the covenant; for the dark places of the earth are full of the haunts of cruelty.

21 Oh, do not let the oppressed return ashamed! Let the poor and needy praise Your name.

22 Arise, O God, plead Your own cause; remember how the foolish man reproaches You daily.

23 Do not forget the voice of Your enemies; the tumult of those who rise up against You increases continually.

 

Here the Psalmist is wondering how God can allow the wicked to deface His holy places and the city where His name dwelt.  Why wasn’t God punishing these wicked blasphemers for disrespecting and mocking Him?  The sad truth is, that this actually was the punishment for hundreds of years of God being disrespected and mocked by His own people.  Judgment always comes to the House of God first.

 

After the great victory over Jericho, the Israelites were routed by Ai.  Why?  Because of disobedience in the camp.  If you feel God has rejected you and He “no longer goes out with your armies”.  Maybe instead of asking God why He left you, you should first examine your own habits.  What sacred things have you maybe made trivial.

 

Many people are quick to throw in, “Resist the Devil and He will flee”, but there is more to it than that. The full context is, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  If you try to resist the Devil before first submitting to God, you won’t get the result you are looking for.  Repent, not just with your mouth, but with your whole heart, your whole mind, and your whole spirit.  Draw near to God and He will run to you and heal you.

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