“O God, why have You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?”
Asaph describes Jerusalem being ransacked by Israel’s enemies. The sanctuary is being defiled and the city is destroyed. While this is happening, Asaph remembers the ancient victories wrought by God. He speaks of how God has;
Divided the seas
Broken heads of Leviathan in pieces.
Broke open the fountain and the flood.
You dried up mighty rivers.
Prepared the light and the sun.
Made summer and winter.
This causes him to ask why God had cast off His people. The answer is, God cast them off because they had turned from Him to serve other gods, and pursue their own ways. For years Israel ignored the warnings of the Word and the prophets, in order to continue in lifestyles that were abhorrent to God, and destructive to themselves. After years and years of extending His mercy, the time came when God allowed the enemies to defeat His people, as a form of judgment for their sins.
The same is true today. When we continually cast off the word of God to live however we want, we will find ourselves living in defeat rather than victory. We will one day look up and wonder how such a mighty God could allow such hardship in our lives. In some cases, the answer is that we have brought this upon ourselves, by ignoring God and His ways. It is always shocking to hear someone, who gives little regard to the ways of God, suddenly blame God or become angry with Him, when their life is suddenly met with upheaval. It may be that the difficulties you are facing are the consequences of ignoring God and are designed to awaken you so you will return to Him. It was after his world collapsed, that the prodigal son ran home to his father.
While God cast off Israel, He did not do so forever. Paul wrote,
Romans 11:1 “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.”
God has a future plan for Israel and He has one for you. No matter what your past has been, or how difficult your present might be, God has a plan for your future. It is possible for you to turn your life over to Him, be forgiven, and allow Him to redeem your life and use you for His glory.
Questions for Psalm 74
- In verse 10 David talks about the work of the enemy. How often do we feel like the work of the enemy is too great to handle? What can we do to find comfort?
- After David talks about the bad things the enemy has done, he says all the wonderful things God does (verse 12-15). What are some wonderful things God has done in your life?