Psalm Chapter 74: God the evil have taken over your sanctuary! ACT NOW!

Psalm Chapter 74: God the evil have taken over your sanctuary! ACT NOW!

(Unless otherwise cited the scriptures in this devotional are from the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. It is not chosen for is veracity, but only because it is a public domain version of scripture.)

Context

The psalmist prays this prayer of lament about the destruction and profanation of the sanctuary. The enemies of Israel desecrated the temple of God.  He does not specify the name, nor the location, of the enemies.  Historically, 2 Kgs 25:8– 17 records that the destruction of the capital city is associated with the assault of the Babylonians in 586 bc. The psalm is divided with

  1. The lament of the destruction is stated, and an appeal for favor is presented to the Lord (verses 1-11).
  2. The hope of the psalmist-the power of God and his past interventions (verses 12-17).
  3. The psalmist’s current petition for help (verses 18-23) begins with an appeal to God to turn back his anger and to show favor to his people again (vv. 1– 3), followed by a description of the horrible damage done to the sanctuary, presumably the temple (vv. 4– 8). After acknowledging God’s silence, the psalmist seeks to prod God into action through a series of rhetorical questions (vv. 9– 11). At this point, the psalmist acknowledges God’s great power by using the language of cosmic conflict at the creation (vv. 12– 17), but in light of the absence of divine intervention, he ends the psalm with one more appeal for help (vv. 18– 23). (Longman, Tremper, III. Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary, InterVarsity Press, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/liberty/detail.action?docID=2033987.

Created from liberty on 2019-12-13 11:30:46.)

Punish those who despised your sanctuary.

The sanctuary is on fire because of the event that occurred in 586 BC. The Babylonians sacked the city. Destroyed the buildings and took the people captive. Once again, Israel is in captivity. WHY?  The people sinned beyond anything that could even be called acceptable by God. The city is on fire because it is a warning for all to see.  The heat of God’s great anger is referenced (Deut. 29:24. Psalm 74:20 shows us that his anger is hot because of the sins of his people. The anger of the Lord and his jealousy are said to smoke against sinners. God made a plan for humanity from the very foundation of the earth.  The Messiah was supposed to come from the seed of Jacob. “ Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old;   Asaph is asking God if he has forgotten this? Have you felt that way sometimes? You know when it feels as if the weight of this world is on your shoulders?

The sanctuary is on fire: Destroyed by the Babylonian. Click this link to see the archeological discoveries of this historical event written about by the psalmist. 

Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; they set up their ensigns for signs. A man was famous according to 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.

“Set up their ensigns for signs”: The invaders have set up their military and pagan religious banners in God’s temple. Do you ever feel as if the leaders of your nation have forgotten that they are human and should never be worshipped? DOo you feel as if they are setting themselves up in the sanctuary of God? Here is how you can tell if your mind is in the right place. If your thoughts are towards your human leaders more than they are towards God and his kingdom mission for the hearts of people today, then you know that you have crossed over to the dark side. “They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.” God’s kingdom mission grows as his people are focused on serving others and loving them as he loves them! When we become part of the problem, we cannot be the solution. Staying focused on his will and his way is impossible through our human flesh.  But with him, all things are possible.

We are waiting. How long will you take God?

The psalmist is repeating the words that are similar to the ones spoken in the book of Lamentations 5 verse 22.

We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet: neither is there among us any that knoweth how long. 10 O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever?  11 Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? pluck it out of thy bosom.

The psalmist had a wilderness experience here. He is ready for God to act. Did you leave us to fend for ourselves, God? That is basically what he is saying right here! Many churches that used to be full are empty today. That does not mean that God moved the arm of the pendulum.  We must delve into God’s Word and find out what God’s will is for our lives, our communities, and or nations.  Then move forward.  Politicians come to the table with their own desires. 99.99% of the time, it is not in keeping with God’s will for his children.

 Only you could have crushed the heads of leviathan.

12 For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.The people had acknowledged God as their king and ruler, and he had showed himself to be stheir king and ruler.  Therefore, he has certain expectations from them.13 Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. When they left Egypt he parted the Red Sea for them. When the crossed over the Jordan River he performed the same miracle. 14 Thou brakest the heads of leviathan [What is leviathan?] in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.  Leviathan is a mythical creature that is mentioned in the Ancient Near Eastern culture. It is a seven-headed sea monster. The psalmists speak about God being able to tame this monster.  15 Thou didst cleave the fountain and the flood: thou dried up mighty rivers. 16 The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun. 17 Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter.

Even the seasons bow to the power of God. Now the psalmist asks God to once again rise up on behalf of his people.

Arise, O God.

18 Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O Lord, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name.  Today we can talk about 2 Timothy 3:13 “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” Yes God still remains God.  His judgment is not executed as speedily as it was during the Old Testament times. But his word warns us about what the end times would be like. 2 Timothy 3:1 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” 19 O deliver not the soul of thy turtledove unto the multitude of the wicked: forget not the congregation of thy poor forever. We are the church of God living in a wicked world.  We are like doves in a jungle of ravenous lions. God  knows that we are suffering.  He has not forgotten us. 

20 Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty. Although we like in the darkness of this world God asks us in Matthew 5:16 to  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” 

21 O let not the oppressed return ashamed: let the poor and needy praise thy name.  “Let the poor and needy praise thy name”: Let them have occasion for it, by the destruction of their enemies, and their deliverance from them, as they will have before long (see Rev. 19:1). When we need an answer from God he will give it.  He has never turned a deaf ear to his children’s cries. However, before we call on Him, we should make sure that we are indeed his children.  Just because we may call ourselves Christians that does not mean that we are truly a child of God. 22 Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily. 23 Forget not the voice of thine enemies: the tumult of those that rise up against thee increaseth continually. God may appear to have forgotten the chaos that the devil has and will continue to create on this earth and among his children. But he has not forgotten.  During our darkest moments, in the middle of the wilderness when we think that we are alone and are about to died from spiritual and  or physical threat God is alrleady there paving the way for us.

 

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