Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 26 June 21:
Psalm 74:1 — “O God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?”
It can often feel like God has forgotten you or abandoned you — He hasn’t. Wait on the Lord. He knows exactly what is happening to you; He is in complete control of your situation; and He can only respond to you in perfect love and faithfulness. You cannot possibly understand the good He has in store for you as He takes you through various trials and tribulations. What seems bad to us, God is bringing together for good. (Romans 8:28) Be still and know that God is God.
Psalm 74 is identified as “A Maskil of Asaph” or song of Asaph. Who was Asaph, and to what event does this Psalm refer? When was “everything in the sanctuary” destroyed by “enemies”?
Asaph was David’s music director and is believed to have written twelve Psalms which collectively make up a larger portion of the entire Bible than several other books in the Bible. Asaph lived from David’s reign, through Solomon’s to Rehoboam’s. So, he offers a VERY unique and important perspective, having basically witnessed the nation of Israel rise to its “Golden Age” under David and then fall to destruction after Solomon turned to idolatry. Asaph watched as the kingdom was torn in two, and he witnessed the Egyptians invade Jerusalem and strip the Temple. Though Asaph appears to have remained faithful in his service to God, he nonetheless personally suffered greatly due to the sins of the leaders and the sins of the nation. No doubt, many of Asaph’s family and friends were killed in the foreign invasions about which he writes. Psalm 74 likely reflects Asaph’s distress at the invasion of Shishak the king of Egypt.
What can we learn today from Asaph’s Psalm? First, Asaph clearly recognizes that Israel’s national problems are in fact due to God’s anger in response to the nation’s sins. It wasn’t simply because Egypt had grown strong or because Israel’s leaders had not been competent enough – it was because Israel had turned from God, the true source of their strength.
Second, Asaph, though faithful to God, also suffers the consequences of the nation’s sins. When a nation turns from God, everyone suffers the consequences. It is important for Christians understand that reality as they prepare for the future.
Finally, Asaph, though undoubtedly disillusioned by his government, never lost his faith in God or his perspective that “God [is] King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.” (Psalm 74:12) In a time of national despair, Asaph understood that a stronger military, a better economy, more civil unity, or more capable elected officials would not save the nation, only the power of God. Asaph put his trust in God.
“In God We Trust.” As were approach another 4th of July and prepare for Independence Day celebrations, it would be good for us to reflect upon how Asaph’s story and his prayers remain relevant in our day.
- Revelation 18:3 — For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”
- Jeremiah 6:14 — They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace
- Acts 10:35 — …but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
- Luke 24:47 — …and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
- Psalm 9:20 — Put them in fear, O LORD! Let the nations know that they are but men!
- Psalm 22:28 — For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.
- Psalm 10:16 — The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land.
- Psalm 33:10 — The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
- Psalm 33:12 — Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
- Luke 12:30 — For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.
- 1 Peter 2:9 — But you [Christians] are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
- Mark 13:10 — And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.
- Psalm 18:49 — For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing to your name.
- Psalm 45:17 — I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.
- Psalm 22:27 — All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.
- Psalm 46:10 — “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
- Psalm 72:11 — May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 26 June 21: While others are talking politics, political parties, and candidates, share the Gospel and talk about Jesus, The Way, The Truth, and the Life. Proclaim the only thing which can bring peace and unity – Jesus Christ (see John 17). “Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.” (1 Peter 5:14)