The appeal of the scattered heritage to the mighty God of Israel 

The scene is one of devastation and conquest. Synagogues and the Sanctuary had been burned and ruined, and the beauty of the interiors desecrated and pillaged. God’s people were slain, and the outlook, humanly speaking, was grim. 

But Asaph’s eye of faith would not be blinkered by the harsh facts. Faith marshalled its arguments before God, and a prayer of importunity persisted from the mouth of Asaph. He pleads a purchased, redeemed people; a God who is in covenant, and that the divine Name had been dishonoured and blasphemed by the enemy. Furthermore, he reminds the Lord of His omnipotence over nature, and His activity in the history of His people: the history of salvation and deliverance. We ought in these days, to use the very same arguments in prayer.

Psalm 74

   1  O God, why hast thou cast us off?
         is it for evermore?
      Against thy pasture-sheep why doth
         thine anger smoke so sore?

   2  O call to thy rememberance
         thy congregation,
      Which thou hast purchased of old;
         still think the same upon:

      The rod of thine inheritance,
         which thou redeemed hast,
      This Zion hill, wherein thou hadst
         thy dwelling in times past.

   3  To these long desolations
         thy feet lift, do not tarry;
      For all the ills thy foes have done
         within thy sanctuary.

   4  Amidst thy congregations
         thine enemies do roar:
      Their ensigns they set up for signs
         of triumph thee before.

   5  A man was famous, and was had
         in estimation,
      According as he lifted up
         his axe thick trees upon.

   6  But all at once with axes now
         and hammers they go to,
      And down the carved work thereof
         they break, and quite undo.

   7  They fired have thy sanctuary,
         and have defiled the same,
      By casting down unto the ground
         the place where dwelt thy name.

   8  Thus said they in their hearts, Let us
         destroy them out of hand:
      They burnt up all the synagogues
         of God within the land.

   9  Our signs we do not now behold;
         there is not us among
      A prophet more, nor any one
         that knows the time how long.

  10  How long, Lord, shall the enemy
         thus in reproach exclaim?
      And shall the adversary thus
         always blaspheme thy name?

  11  Thy hand, ev'n thy right hand of might,
         why dost thou thus draw back?
      O from thy bosom pluck it out
         for our deliv'rance sake.

  12  For certainly God is my King,
         ev'n from the times of old,
      Working in midst of all the earth
         salvation manifold.

  13  The sea, by thy great pow'r, to part
         asunder thou didst make;
      And thou the dragons' heads, O Lord,
         within the waters brake.

  14  The leviathan's head thou brak'st
         in pieces, and didst give
      Him to be meat unto the folk
         in wilderness that live.

  15  Thou clav'st the fountain and the flood,
         which did with streams abound:
      Thou dry'dst the mighty waters up
         unto the very ground.

  16  Thine only is the day, O Lord,
         thine also is the night;
      And thou alone prepared hast
         the sun and shining light.

  17  By thee the borders of the earth
         were settled ev'ry where:
      The summer and the winter both
         by thee created were.

  18  That th' enemy reproached hath,
         O keep it in record;
      And that the foolish people have
         blasphemed thy name, O Lord.

  19  Unto the multitude do not
         thy turtle's soul deliver:
      The congregation of thy poor
         do not forget for ever.

  20  Unto thy cov'nant have respect;
         for earth's dark places be
      Full of the habitations
         of horrid cruelty.

  21  O let not those that be oppressed
         return again with shame:
      Let those that poor and needy are
         give praise unto thy name.

  22  Do thou, O God, arise and plead
         the cause that is thine own:
      Remember how thou art reproached
         still by the foolish one.

  23  Do not forget the voice of those
         that are thine enemies:
      Of those the tumult ever grows
         that do against thee rise.

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