The King’s Covenant in Psalm 74 Overwhelms Dark Places

The King’s Covenant in Psalm 74 Overwhelms Dark Places

Questions for God are allowed. Lament is the language of the Christian in pain. The Bible—especially The Psalms—is God’s answer book.

“O God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?” Psalm 74:1

Pain and suffering give birth to doubt. It seems in the midst of brokenness that God has cast us off as if we don’t matter to him. Appearances tell us that he is angry, and his wrath burns against us, his people.

However, we are a covenant people with a covenant God.

“Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old, which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage! Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.” Psalm 74:2

Asaph calls on God to remember. We are a people purchased and redeemed. We are a heritage, and Asaph calls on God to remember.

Because it feels like we’ve been forgotten. He calls on God to take note of the ruins and the destruction. Foes roar against God’s people. His people are like trees, and his enemies are like axes. Utter destruction. Arson in the sanctuary. Profaned his name.

“How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever?” Psalm 74:10

Asaph laments. His godly lament inspires him to call on God to protect his own name. He laments not only for his own pain and loss; he laments the scoffing and reviling of God’s hallowed name. He urges God to pull his hand out of his garment and act.

“Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.” Psalm 74:12

In the depth of despair, Asaph heralds his faith in God. He asserts that his God is King. He is the one who works salvation. He divided the sea. Day and night belong to God. He is the creator who established the sun. He is the God who laid the boundaries across the earth. He is the God who established seasons.

“Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs, and a foolish people reviles your name.” Psalm 74:18

We have a King who established his name among his people. Asaph calls on the Lord to remember. Our enemy scoffs and foolish people revile.

A covenant in a fallen world is a balm to hurting people. If we hold fast and do not turn back.

“Have regard for the covenant, for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence. Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame; let the poor and needy praise your name.” Psalm 74:20-21

Asaph began with lament. He prayed, “O God, why do you cast us off forever?” He complains in the context of covenant. He turns to God to ask him to regard and remember the covenant he made with his people. Brokenness prevails in a fallen world. Darkness. Violence. Downtrodden. Shame. Poor. Needy. And yet, by virtue of covenant, praise is offered up to the name of our God. Emboldened faith.

In light of the covenant, Asaph beseeches God to defend his cause among a people who scoff at his name. The noise of the clamor of enemies rises up continually. This is life among the fallen. However, let God defend his purposes, his cause, for he will prevail.

“Arise, O God, defend your cause; remember how the foolish scoff at you all the day! Do not forget the clamor of your foes, the uproar of those who rise against you, which goes up continually!” Psalm 74:22-23


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