Psalm 74 – Asking God to Remember His Destroyed Sanctuary. This psalm is titled A Contemplation of Asaph. It is a plea and a prayer in great sorrow from the destruction of the sanctuary (Psalm 74:3, 7). Majority of commentators believe this psalm followed the destruction of the temple by the Babylonians. Temple was the house of God. It was the place where people came to pray to God, and to worship him. (Worship means that you tell someone how great they are, and that you love them.) The Israelites made several temples. The most important one was in Jerusalem. Enemies destroyed it twice. The second time, it was the Romans, 70 years after Jesus came to the earth. Jesus had said that this would happen God, why have you rejected us forever? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture? Look at the top of this psalm for what Jesus said. O God, why have you rejected us forever? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture? But about 600 BC, Nebuchadnezzar also destroyed the temple. He was King of Babylon. He took many of the Israelites to Babylon. We call this “the exile”. BC means years Before Christ came to the earth. The covenant was when God and the Israelites agreed. God would protect them if they obeyed him. The trouble was that they did not obey him. So, God let Nebuchadnezzar destroy the temple. He also took the Israelites to Babylon. There they had to do what he told them to do. They were in exile. Really, they were in a prison a long way from home. This Psalm tells us what Nebuchadnezzar did to the temple. The Israelites were sorry because Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple. They were not sorry that they had disobeyed God. (means “they did not obey”.) This is why God did not have to keep his promise. God let Nebuchadnezzar and his army destroy the temple. Psalmist problem here he did not know why God let Nebuchadnezzar destroy the temple. He did not know what the prophets had said. Jeremiah said that it was because the Israelites disobeyed God. Psalmist did not know that there were any prophets! Jeremiah even said that God would do something in 70 years’ time. Again, the Psalmist did not know this. To us this is all very strange. We can explain it two ways:
1)Psalmist was so busy working for God that he did not know what was happening!
2) This Psalm is about another temple, when there were no prophets (Jews had 7 or more temples)
It reads in Psalm 74:1-23 NIV “A maskil of Asaph.” O God, why have you rejected us forever? 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 redeemed, 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, “We will crush them completely!” They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land. We are given no signs from God; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be. How long will the enemy mock you, God? Will the foe revile your name forever? Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them! But God is my King from long ago; he brings salvation on the earth. It was you who split open the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the monster in the waters. It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert. It was you who opened up springs and streams; you dried up the ever-flowing rivers. The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon. It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter. Remember how the enemy has mocked you, Lord, how foolish people have reviled your name. Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever. Have regard for your covenant, because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land. Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name. Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long. Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries, the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.