A Tale of Two Psalms
CONTEXT: From Ps 74:1-11 the poet pleads the sorrows of the nation, and the despite done to the assemblies of the Lord; then he urges former displays of divine power as a reason for present deliverance (Ps 74:12-23). Whether it is a prophetic Psalm, intended for use in troubles foreseen, or whether it was written by a later Asaph, after the invasion by Sennacherib or during the Maccabean wars, it would be very hard to determine, but we see no difficulty in the first supposition. – C. H. Spurgeon
I titled todays devotional A Tale of Two Psalms even though it is obvious that we are only looking at one. The reason is the clear breakdown of the Psalm into tow very distinct parts almost as if the they were written as separate prayers and spliced gracefully together.
Verses 1-11 – The psalmist pours out his heart over the destruction of the temple and Israel’s response to it. It would have been easy to stope there, opening with a cry during present affliction v.1 O God, why have You rejected us forever?… and closing with a prayer for God’s intervention v.11 Remove Your hand from Your chest, destroy them!
Yet wisely we have v.12-23 as our art above shows the writer implores God to remember who He is, the one who is sovereign over all the earth; Yet God is my King of old, Working salvation in the midst of the earth. As much as God is to protect the His chosen people (here obviously the nation of Israel) God must also guard His reputation; Do not forget the [clamoring] voices of Your adversaries, The uproar of those who rise against You, which ascends continually [to Your ears]. If unchecked they would just mock the God of the Jews.
The lesson here is to me quite plain, we may not know why, when or even if affliction or calamity will beseech us. What we can count on is a Sovereign Savior and ruler of all the earth. To whom do you pray today?
There is one singularity in this Psalm which reminds one strongly of Psalm 44: there is not one mention of national or personal sin throughout, no allusion to the Lord’s righteous dealing in their punishment, no supplication for pardon and forgiveness; and yet one can hardly doubt that the writer of the Psalm, be he who he may, must have felt as keenly as Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, or any other prophet of the captivity, the sins and iniquities which had brought all this sore evil upon them. But still, though there be expostulations, there is no complaint; though there be mourning, there is no murmuring; there is far more the cry of a smitten child, wondering why, and grieving that his father’s face is so turned away from him in displeasure, and a father’s hand so heavy on the child of his love. Or, as we might almost say, it is like the cry of one of those martyred ones beneath the altar, wondering at the marauder and oppressor, and exclaiming, “How long, O Lord, how long?” And yet it is the appeal of one who was still a sufferer, still groaning under the pressure of his calamities, “Why has thou cast us off for ever? We see not our signs, there is no more any prophet among us.” – Barton Bouchier.