This is Episode #178 and today we’ll read Psalms 74-77 together. Here we find a man who is broken-hearted for his people so he prays to God for Israel in song.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #178 and today we’ll read Psalms 74-77 together. Here we find a man who is broken-hearted for his people so he prays to God for Israel in song.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Prayer for Israel
A Maskil of Asaph.
Why have you rejected us forever, God?
Why does your anger burn
against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your congregation,
which you purchased long ago
and redeemed as the tribe for your own possession.
Remember Mount Zion where you dwell.
Make your way to the perpetual ruins,
to all that the enemy has destroyed in the sanctuary.
Your adversaries roared in the meeting place
where you met with us.
They set up their emblems as signs.
It was like men in a thicket of trees,
then smashing all the carvings
with hatchets and picks.
They set your sanctuary on fire;
they utterly desecrated
the dwelling place of your name.
They said in their hearts,
“Let’s oppress them relentlessly.”
They burned every place throughout the land
where God met with us.
There are no signs for us to see.
There is no longer a prophet.
And none of us knows how long this will last.
God, how long will the enemy mock?
Will the foe insult your name forever?
Why do you hold back your hand?
Stretch out your right hand and destroy them!
God my King is from ancient times,
performing saving acts on the earth.
You divided the sea with your strength;
you smashed the heads of the sea monsters in the water;
you crushed the heads of Leviathan;
you fed him to the creatures of the desert.
You opened up springs and streams;
you dried up ever-flowing rivers.
The day is yours, also the night;
you established the moon and the sun.
You set all the boundaries of the earth;
you made summer and winter.
Consider the Covenant
Remember this: the enemy has mocked the Lord,
and a foolish people has insulted your name.
Do not give to beasts the life of your dove;
do not forget the lives of your poor people forever.
Consider the covenant,
for the dark places of the land are full of violence.
Do not let the oppressed turn away in shame;
let the poor and needy praise your name.
Rise up, God, champion your cause!
Remember the insults
that fools bring against you all day long.
Do not forget the clamor of your adversaries,
the tumult of your opponents that goes up constantly.
God Judges the Wicked
For the choir director: “Do Not Destroy.” A psalm of Asaph. A song.
We give thanks to you, God;
we give thanks to you, for your name is near.
People tell about your wondrous works.
“When I choose a time,
I will judge fairly.
When the earth and all its inhabitants shake,
I am the one who steadies its pillars.
I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’
and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn.
Do not lift up your horn against heaven
or speak arrogantly.’”
Exaltation does not come
from the east, the west, or the desert,
for God is the Judge:
He brings down one and exalts another.
For there is a cup in the Lord’s hand,
full of wine blended with spices, and he pours from it.
All the wicked of the earth will drink,
draining it to the dregs.
As for me, I will tell about him forever;
I will sing praise to the God of Jacob.
“I will cut off all the horns of the wicked,
but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.”
God, the Powerful Judge
For the choir director: with stringed instruments. A psalm of Asaph. A song.
God is known in Judah;
his name is great in Israel.
His tent is in Salem,
his dwelling place in Zion.
There he shatters the bow’s flaming arrows,
the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war.
You are resplendent and majestic
coming down from the mountains of prey.
The brave-hearted have been plundered;
they have slipped into their final sleep.
None of the warriors was able to lift a hand.
At your rebuke, God of Jacob,
both chariot and horse lay still.
And you — you are to be feared.
When you are angry,
who can stand before you?
From heaven you pronounced judgment.
The earth feared and grew quiet
when God rose up to judge
and to save all the lowly of the earth.
Even human wrath will praise you;
you will clothe yourself
with the wrath that remains.
Make and keep your vows
to the Lord your God;
let all who are around him bring tribute
to the awe-inspiring one.
He humbles the spirit of leaders;
he is feared by the kings of the earth.
Confidence in a Time of Crisis
For the choir director: according to Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm.
I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and he will hear me.
I sought the Lord in my day of trouble.
My hands were continually lifted up
all night long;
I refused to be comforted.
I think of God; I groan;
I meditate; my spirit becomes weak.
You have kept me from closing my eyes;
I am troubled and cannot speak.
I consider days of old,
years long past.
At night I remember my music;
I meditate in my heart, and my spirit ponders.
“Will the Lord reject forever
and never again show favor?
Has his faithful love ceased forever?
Is his promise at an end for all generations?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
So I say, “I am grieved
that the right hand of the Most High has changed.”
I will remember the Lord’s works;
yes, I will remember your ancient wonders.
I will reflect on all you have done
and meditate on your actions.
God, your way is holy.
What god is great like God?
You are the God who works wonders;
you revealed your strength among the peoples.
With power you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
The water saw you, God.
The water saw you; it trembled.
Even the depths shook.
The clouds poured down water.
The storm clouds thundered;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
The sound of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
lightning lit up the world.
The earth shook and quaked.
Your way went through the sea
and your path through the vast water,
but your footprints were unseen.
You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
In these psalms, Asaph is desperately calling on God to remember His promises to His people, Israel. Do you think God had actually forgotten His promises? What we know from reading the history of this covenant nation is that God repeatedly warned the Israelites through His prophets that if they disobeyed His laws, their blessings would turn into curses. What Asaph calls forgetting in his agony might more accurately be called consequences.
This will become even more clear when we read the group of books in the Old Testament known as the Major and Minor Prophets. In many of those writings, it almost looks like they copied each other’s work, simply because the message is always the same: “Get your act together, nation of Jacob! You return to Me and I will return to you.” I understand songs of lament. They are cathartic and bring us to a place of repentance. But I don’t think there was a soul around who could honestly say they didn’t know why God had turned His back. They knew exactly why.
All that said, God’s great compassion and faithful love endures forever. The anguish of His people is almost as heartbreaking to Him as their sin. But God requires a humble spirit and repentant heart. When those things are present and Israel – or we – ask forgiveness, He is quick to wipe the slate clean. Or, as it’s written in Psalm 103:12, As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Nothing is more cathartic than that. What do you think? Tell me at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
See You Tomorrow!
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will by changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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