Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Begging God to Respond
Maschil of Asaph.
“O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture? Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt.” (Psalm 74:1-2)
The leadership of a nation or organizations establishes the attitude of the nation or organization. King Saul repeatedly broke God’s commandments and encouraged others to do so. As a result, after his death, it took seven years to reunite the nation. It seemed like the struggles would never end. The Psalmist is asking that God would remember the promises he had made when he redeemed them out of Egypt.
“Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary. Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; they set up their ensigns for signs. A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees. But now they break down the carved work thereof at once with axes and hammers. They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground. They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.” (Psalm 74:3-8)
He asks that God not punish the whole nation for the actions of a few who hated God. They had committed sins in the very sanctuary, with Saul having the priests murdered. They spoke out loudly against the things of God encouraging people to murder David and take property from those who didn’t do as Saul commanded. The city of Nob had been built up and people worshipped God there, but Doeg led a group to completely destroy and burn the entire city.
“We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet: neither is there among us any that knoweth how long. O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever? Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? pluck it out of thy bosom.” (Psalm 74:9-11)
They were going through a period when it seemed like God was no longer directing the nation with special signs and there were no prophets led by God to tell them when the trials would end. Would God ever intervene on their behalf? Would the attacks on and rejection of God never end? Why didn’t God intervene and stop the wickedness.
“For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness. Thou didst cleave the fountain and the flood: thou driedst up mighty rivers.” (Psalm 74:12-15)
God is the same God who had delivered Israel and caused continents to separate, dividing up the seas. He was the God who killed the dragons or dinosaurs and enabled little groups of people in the desert to eat them. It was God who divided up the springs of water to form rivers and streams and sent the flood, and it is him who caused some rivers to become just dry washes.
“The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun. Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter. Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name.” (Psalm 74:16-18)
God still has the power today that he had at creation. He made the light, and the sun as a source. He shaped adthe earth and the continents, and created the boundaries that separate between land and ocean and atmosphere, and tilted the earth’s axis to cause winter and summer. Knowing this he asks that God would realize people are denying his power and his care for his people.
“O deliver not the soul of thy turtledove unto the multitude of the wicked: forget not the congregation of thy poor for ever. Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty. O let not the oppressed return ashamed: let the poor and needy praise thy name.” (Psalm 74:19-21)
Compared to the world, his children are as weak and defenseless as the turtle dove. He asks that God protect his lved ones from the wicked and not forget the just allow the wicked to continuously have power over the poor and weak. Instead he asks that he remember his promises because the world is full of wickedness. He asks that he not allow the week and abused to feel hopeless but that the poor and needy would have reason to praise him.
“Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily. Forget not the voice of thine enemies: the tumult of those that rise up against thee increaseth continually.” (Psalm 74:22-23)
He asks that God would stand up for himself and show he is God. He needs to remember Satan and his followers are constantly attacking, and only God is strong enough to defeat them.