Praise Habit: Psalm 74

O God, why do you cast us off for ever?
Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your congregation, which you acquired long ago,
which you redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage.
Remember Mount Zion, where you came to dwell.
Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary.

Your foes have roared within your holy place;
they set up their emblems there.
At the upper entrance they hacked
the wooden trellis with axes.
And then, with hatchets and hammers,
they smashed all its carved work.
They set your sanctuary on fire;
they desecrated the dwelling-place of your name,
bringing it to the ground.
They said to themselves, ‘We will utterly subdue them’;
they burned all the meeting-places of God in the land.

We do not see our emblems;
there is no longer any prophet,
and there is no one among us who knows how long.
How long, O God, is the foe to scoff?
Is the enemy to revile your name for ever?
Why do you hold back your hand;
why do you keep your hand in your bosom?

Yet God my King is from of old,
working salvation in the earth.
You divided the sea by your might;
you broke the heads of the dragons in the waters.
You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
You cut openings for springs and torrents;
you dried up ever-flowing streams.
Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you established the luminaries and the sun.
You have fixed all the bounds of the earth;
you made summer and winter.

Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs,
and an impious people reviles your name.
Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild animals;
do not forget the life of your poor for ever.

Have regard for your covenant,
for the dark places of the land are full of the haunts of violence.
Do not let the downtrodden be put to shame;
let the poor and needy praise your name.
Rise up, O God, plead your cause;
remember how the impious scoff at you all day long.
Do not forget the clamour of your foes,
the uproar of your adversaries that goes up continually.

Psalm 74 (NRSV)

Yahweh is old school. He’s not like these new “powers” that invade, distract, and destroy. He’s not impotent like they truly are. He’s the kind of god who makes a nation for Himself. He’s the kind of god that destroys other “gods” (i.e Leviathan) and feeds them to wild animals. He’s the kind of god who establishes the luminaries in the sky and makes the seasons be. In fact, there is nothing else in all creation that deserves to be called a god, because Yahweh alone is God!

And He doesnt forget His own.

It doesn’t matter what we think is going on – no matter how shaken the world seems, no matter how strong the enemy appears, and no matter how bleak the situation. He has remembered His people, the promises He made, and the way the enemy has scoffed at Him. He remembers, and he will not let His own be put to shame.

This is a glorious picture of Your steadfastness, and I need Your steady nature in my life. I am one of the poor and needy. I need reason and cause. And I need salvation from the dark places so that I might praise Your name. Remind me that You remember the covenant You established, and let me trust you more, no matter what I see in this broken world. Your purpose and will and cause are really reality, for You alone are really God.

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