O God, how long will the adversary reproach? Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever? 11 Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand? [Take it] out of Your bosom and destroy [them]. 12 For God [is] my King from of old, Working salvation in the midst of the earth. 13 You divided the sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the sea serpents in the waters. 14 You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces, [And] gave him [as] food to the people inhabiting the wilderness. 15 You broke open the fountain and the flood; You dried up mighty rivers. 16 The day [is] Yours, the night also [is] Yours; You have prepared the light and the sun. 17 You have set all the borders of the earth; You have made summer and winter. 18 Remember this, [that] the enemy has reproached, O LORD, And [that] a foolish people has blasphemed Your name. 19 Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtledove to the wild beast! Do not forget the life of Your poor forever. 20 Have respect to the covenant; For the dark places of the earth are full of the haunts of cruelty. 21 Oh, do not let the oppressed return ashamed! Let the poor and needy praise Your name. 22 Arise, O God, plead Your own cause; Remember how the foolish man reproaches You daily. 23 Do not forget the voice of Your enemies; The tumult of those who rise up against You increases continually.PSALM 74:10-23
A PRAYER OF FAITH IN THE MIDST OF HARD TIMES
There is a prosperity gospel out there that is no gospel at all. It tells you that God wants you healthy, wealthy, and independent. The proponents voice that all you need to do is to “name it and claim it” in Jesus name. If you have enough faith you will be healed or “financially” healed, etc. They day God wants you to live your best life now…. And while I understand that there is a measure of truthfulness in the sentiment that life with Jesus is better than life without him, but what this false gospel of prosperity often fails to take into account is that God’s purpose is greater than than just our comfort or material needs in a sinful world. Indeed, He promises one day to remove sin from the world in a new heavens and a new earth and you can’t tell me that life with sin on this earth is better than eternity where the curse is undone!
The Psalmist writes his lament about things he saw happen that he never thought would happen. The temple was destroyed. God’s people were taken into captivity. It’s not a name it and claim it kind of moment. Everyone is mourning the loss of someone they know. Everyone is mourning the loss of their nation, the loss of their identity, and the loss of a place that was the center for worshipping God. The feeling in the air is one of being deflated. How do they possibly move on from here? How do they go, grow, and prosper after such a horrible devastation.
Praise God that his gospel is bigger than just health and wealth for a fallen world. Praise God that he is moving even in the hard times. Praise God that he hears our prayers and tears of brokenness. Praise God that we can call out to him with real and raw emotion because that is exactly what the psalmist does here. He laments just how broken and fractured his world is. He doesn’t blame God, he knows the sins of his nation have lead them to this point, but he does ask God how long until they will be restored.
Indeed in the very presence of devastation, in the middle of his prayer there is a sense of holy discontentment. That discontentment is expressed in the reality that God is not through yet. His promises still remain. There is a dissonance that we feel in the middle of brokenness while holding on to the promises of eternal holiness. While the psalmist is walking through the rubble, he already knows the promises of God and so he cries out in faith! Faith that God will accomplish all that he said he would, faith that takes God’s promises to the bank and asks for action, faith that acknowledges sorrow in the present, but also joy for tomorrow. Romans 8:28 faith. Genesis 50:20 Faith. Faith.
Father, No matter how dark the night, we wait for the dawning of a new day knowing that you have promised us, a new heart, a new life, a new body, a new heavens, and a new earth. All things new! We know that what is broken by sin must be healed and redeemed. We are reminded that while we live in a fallen world there will be brokenness and that brokenness will hurt. It seems almost unbearable on some days. We hold to our confidence in you to bring all things to a rightful conclusion in Jesus Christ. We hold to your word, to your promises, to your abundant life even in the midst of trials and travails. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.