Psalm 74 (The Message)
An Asaph Psalm
1 You walked off and left us, and never looked back. God, how could you do that?
We’re your very own sheep;
how can you stomp off in anger?
2-3 Refresh your memory of us—you bought us a long time ago.
Your most precious tribe—you paid a good price for us!
Your very own Mount Zion—you actually lived here once!
Come and visit the site of disaster,
see how they’ve wrecked the sanctuary.
4-8 While your people were at worship, your enemies barged in,
brawling and scrawling graffiti.
They set fire to the porch;
axes swinging, they chopped up the woodwork,
Beat down the doors with sledgehammers,
then split them into kindling.
They burned your holy place to the ground,
violated the place of worship.
They said to themselves, “We’ll wipe them all out,”
and burned down all the places of worship.
9-17 There’s not a sign or symbol of God in sight,
nor anyone to speak in his name,
no one who knows what’s going on.
How long, God, will barbarians blaspheme,
enemies curse and get by with it?
Why don’t you do something? How long are you going
to sit there with your hands folded in your lap?
God is my King from the very start;
he works salvation in the womb of the earth.
With one blow you split the sea in two,
you made mincemeat of the dragon Tannin.
You lopped off the heads of Leviathan,
then served them up in a stew for the animals.
With your finger you opened up springs and creeks,
and dried up the wild floodwaters.
You own the day, you own the night;
you put stars and sun in place.
You laid out the four corners of earth,
shaped the seasons of summer and winter.
18-21 Mark and remember, God, all the enemy
taunts, each idiot desecration.
Don’t throw your lambs to the wolves;
after all we’ve been through, don’t forget us.
Remember your promises;
the city is in darkness, the countryside violent.
Don’t leave the victims to rot in the street;
make them a choir that sings your praises.
22-23 On your feet, O God—
stand up for yourself!
Do you hear what they’re saying about you,
all the vile obscenities?
Don’t tune out their malicious filth,
the brawling invective that never lets up.
We have encountered Psalms like this one before. Of doubt or one of calling for help, one that has a more negative tone. This one is more negative throughout the entire Psalm. It is more emotional or intense than your standard God help. It is demanding God to do something. It is almost angry in it’s tone. This Psalm is basically yelling at God to pay attention to what is happening to His people and how the world is talking about God and how it is treating Him. Half way through we get to our worship, although still angry in tone. It starts talking about how powerful and great God is. Everything that God has done with our breaking a sweat basically. And here is what this tells me, and what I shall reveal to you. The writer of this Psalm is more than likely concerned more about him and and his fellow worshipers. About their freedom to worship God in the ‘places of worship’ , he says ‘You used to live here once’ I’m going to assume that this occurs after the vision in the OT of God leaving the Temple. The Psalmist is more concerned for himself than for God, it’s only human. But he is concerned because he has opened his eyes and all he can see is a spiritual darkness. God is gone, the world has rejected him, God’s temples and altars have been ripped down. Where will they worship, how will they overcome the darkness? The Psalmist answers . . . with worship. Worship needs to come from our desperation, just as it does our joy, our awe, our respect, our honor, our sadness, our anger . . . our worship needs to come from the very core of who and what we are in the moment. And that worship will draw us as a community of believers together to worship to bring the light back into the darkness, and to invite God to once again dwell among us.
1. How often do you feel that you are in spiritual darkness? Have you been able to overcome it, and how?
2. How important is the community of believers in worship to you?
3. Do you worship out of your emotions truthfully to God or do you only express the ‘happy’ worship to God?