Psalm 74

The desolations of God’s house cannot but grieve the believer more than any desolations that might come to his own house.
In the time of such distress, he cannot sit still in apathy but will turn to God seeking to know “why?” (v. 1) the desolations have come, looking to Him for deliverance.

1 O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture?

2 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.

3 Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary.

4 Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; they set up their ensigns for signs.

5 A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees.

6 But now they break down the carved work thereof at once with axes and hammers.

7 They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground.

8 They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.

9 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.

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

13 Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters.

14 Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.

15 Thou didst cleave the fountain and the flood: thou driedst 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.

18 Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name.

19 O deliver not the soul of thy turtledove unto the multitude of the wicked: forget not the congregation of thy poor for ever.

20 Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.

21 O let not the oppressed return ashamed: let the poor and needy praise thy name.

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.

Psalm 74:1-11 – The Sanctuary of God Profaned

   This psalm probably dates from the time when the Chaldeans destroyed the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. Compare Psalm 74:8 with Jeremiah 3:13-17. The main emphasis of Psalm 74:1 lies in the argument which arose from Israel’s close relationship with God. Were they not His (Thy) congregation! Was not the Temple His own chosen sanctuary? Did not these facts constitute the reason why He should come with swift footsteps to undo the evils that their foes were inflicting? The invaders were His (Thine) adversaries. The Temple was the dwelling-place of His (Thy) name. The whole psalm is dominated by this note. It says very little of the sufferings which the enemy has inflicted, but constantly recurs to the insult and reproach, done to God.
   When we live only for Jesus Christ, so that our case and His have become one, we can use language like this. But this position is not acquired lightly, nor without much watchfulness and prayer. We by nature watch out for our own dignity and welfare much more quickly than for the interests of God’s kingdom and glory. When, however, we are absolutely identified with the kingdom and glory of Jesus, our argument for deliverance is omnipotent. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 74:12-23 – ​“O God, Plead Thine Own Cause” (Psalm 74:22)

   For! Psalm 74:12. There is always some compensating and consolatory thought. God is in the background of our thought. Not only the King, but my King, ever working salvation in the midst of the earth. Faith is quickened as she reviews the marvels of the past, or considers the constant forth-putting of God’s power in nature. See Psalm 74:12-15.
   The dove is a tender emblem of the Church in her simplicity, weakness, and defenselessness; and there is no plea so potent as to remind God of His Covenant, which has been sealed with the blood of the Cross. Though we are utterly unworthy, He cannot deny Himself. Every time we put the cup to our lips in the Holy Supper, we say in effect. Have respect unto the Covenant, Psalm 74:20. This is an invincible argument with God. Go over the different items of that Covenant enumerated in Hebrews 8. Place your finger on the one that fits your case, and present that at the bank of heaven, endorsed by the countersign of our Lord. See to it that your cause is so identified with God’s that, in soliciting His help, you may be able to add: Arise, O God, plead thine own cause, Psalm 74:22. God is faithful to those whom He has called into the fellowship of His Son. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 74:20—Have respect unto the covenant.

​   What a marvelous ejaculation! Here is a broken heart, pouring out its wail into the ear of God about his sanctuary and city. His adversaries have broken into the sacred precincts, and have hewn down its exquisitely carved work with hammer and hatchet. They were as men who lift up the hatchet against a forest of trees. There is nothing more utterly sad than the lament, “We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet: neither is there among us any that knoweth how long” (Psalm 74:9).
   But from it all the suppliant rises to a climax of insistent appeal, and bids God have respect unto the covenant, made centuries before with Abraham and his seed. This was an appeal which struck right home to the heart of God. He could not deny Himself.
   Here is an attitude in prayer, which can only be taken when the soul has become intimate with God, and come to close grip with Him. When every other reason has been marshaled, and every argument alleged; when still the answer tarries, and the case is desperate, then turn to God, and say, “Thou canst not run back from the terms of the covenant to which Thou hast pledged Thyself. This is included in the bond of agreement. I claim that Thou shouldst do as Thou hast said.”
   The covenant is set out at length in Hebrews 8. It will cover all the exigencies of our lives. And by Galatians 3:14 we may also place ourselves under the provision of the three-fold covenant which God ratified with Abraham. In every trial, when desiring any blessing, when the crashing blows of the adversaries’ hatchet are heard, turn to God, and say, “Have respect unto the covenant, of which Jesus is the Mediator and his blood the seal.” —Our Daily Homily