Read: Psalm 74:4–8, 12–23 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 32–33; Hebrews 1
Most of the people of Jerusalem were in exile or had been slain when Asaph wrote Psalm 74. Pouring out his heart’s anguish, he described the destruction of the temple at the hands of ruthless invaders. “Your foes roared in the place where you met with us,” Asaph said (v. 4). “They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name” (v. 7).
Yet the psalmist found a place to stand despite the awful reality—providing encouragement that we can do so too. “But God is my King from long ago,” Asaph resolved. “He brings salvation on the earth” (v. 12). This truth enabled Asaph to praise God’s mighty power even though His salvation seemed absent in the moment. “Have regard for your covenant,” Asaph prayed. “Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name” (vv. 20–21).
When justice and mercy seem absent, God’s love and power are in no way diminished. With Asaph, we can confidently say, “But God is my King.”
God will defend His Name.
As the author of Psalm 74, Asaph helped Israel mourn the destruction of their temple by the Babylonians in 586 bc. Little did he know that someday his song would find an echo in an even more confusing loss. According to the New Testament, a greater temple of God (John 2:20–21) was nailed to a tree. This time, God Himself bore the loss. Where are we in the story?