O God, why have you rejected us forever?Reading: Psalm 74 A maskil of Asaph. (Verses 1-8)
Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture? Remember the nation you purchased long ago, the people of your inheritance, whom you redeemedâ€” Mount Zion, where you dwelt. Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins, all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary. Your foes roared in the place where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs. They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees. They smashed all the carved paneling with their axes and hatchets. They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name. They said in their hearts, â€œWe will crush them completely!â€ They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land (NIV).
This is a psalm that was born in a time of disaster and distress. The enemies of the people of God had triumphed. In reality Psalm 74 begins as a lament as the psalmist calls out to God with these words. Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins, all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary.
Foreign armies had invaded the land. Not only had they attacked the people of God, they had desecrated Godâ€™s sanctuary. They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name.
It may be hard for many of us to imagine the destruction of war and the invasion of our country by foreign forces. But on the spiritual level our land has already been invaded and the attacks on the sanctuaries of God are unrelenting.
Take a walk or a drive about any large city in Canada or Europe and you will see abandoned church buildings. Some have been turned into concert halls or night clubs. Today this statement describes our present reality. Your foes roared in the place where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs.
Sadly, in many places the standard of the cross has been replaced by standards of hedonism and human pride. This would be easier to fathom if this was the work of some sinister foreign power, but in reality our own people have turned their backs on God and have instead embraced the gods of this world. God have mercy on our land.
Response: LORD God, help us to become agents of change in our land. We want people throughout this country to turn to you in repentance and faith. Open their eyes to their need and your reality. Amen.
Your Turn: What will it take to awaken your nation to God? What conditions bring about renewal?