Psalms 74

Listen to Psalms 74
1 O God, why have you rejected us so long? Why is your anger so intense against the sheep of your own pasture?
2 Remember that we are the people you chose long ago, the tribe you redeemed as your own special possession! And remember Jerusalem, your home here on earth.
3 Walk through the awful ruins of the city; see how the enemy has destroyed your sanctuary.
4 There your enemies shouted their victorious battle cries; there they set up their battle standards.
5 They swung their axes like woodcutters in a forest.
6 With axes and picks, they smashed the carved paneling.
7 They burned your sanctuary to the ground. They defiled the place that bears your name.
8 Then they thought, “Let’s destroy everything!” So they burned down all the places where God was worshiped.
9 We no longer see your miraculous signs. All the prophets are gone, and no one can tell us when it will end.
10 How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to insult you? Will you let them dishonor your name forever?
11 Why do you hold back your strong right hand? Unleash your powerful fist and destroy them.
12 You, O God, are my king from ages past, bringing salvation to the earth.
13 You split the sea by your strength and smashed the heads of the sea monsters.
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan and let the desert animals eat him.
15 You caused the springs and streams to gush forth, and you dried up rivers that never run dry.
16 Both day and night belong to you; you made the starlight and the sun.
17 You set the boundaries of the earth, and you made both summer and winter.
18 See how these enemies insult you, LORD . A foolish nation has dishonored your name.
19 Don’t let these wild beasts destroy your turtledoves. Don’t forget your suffering people forever.
20 Remember your covenant promises, for the land is full of darkness and violence!
21 Don’t let the downtrodden be humiliated again. Instead, let the poor and needy praise your name.
22 Arise, O God, and defend your cause. Remember how these fools insult you all day long.
23 Don’t overlook what your enemies have said or their growing uproar.

Psalms 74 Commentary

Chapter 74

The desolations of the sanctuary. (1-11) Pleas for encouraging faith. (12-17) Petitions for deliverances. (18-23)

Verses 1-11 This psalm appears to describe the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Chaldeans. The deplorable case of the people of God, at the time, is spread before the Lord, and left with him. They plead the great things God had done for them. If the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt was encouragement to hope that he would not cast them off, much more reason have we to believe, that God will not cast off any whom Christ has redeemed with his own blood. Infidels and persecutors may silence faithful ministers, and shut up places of worship, and say they will destroy the people of God and their religion together. For a long time they may prosper in these attempts, and God's oppressed servants may see no prospect of deliverance; but there is a remnant of believers, the seed of a future harvest, and the despised church has survived those who once triumphed over her. When the power of enemies is most threatening, it is comfortable to flee to the power of God by earnest prayer.

Verses 12-17 The church silences her own complaints. What God had done for his people, as their King of old, encouraged them to depend on him. It was the Lord's doing, none besides could do it. This providence was food to faith and hope, to support and encourage in difficulties. The God of Israel is the God of nature. He that is faithful to his covenant about the day and the night, will never cast off those whom he has chosen. We have as much reason to expect affliction, as to expect night and winter. But we have no more reason to despair of the return of comfort, than to despair of day and summer. And in the world above we shall have no more changes.

Verses 18-23 The psalmist begs that God would appear for the church against their enemies. The folly of such as revile his gospel and his servants will be plain to all. Let us call upon our God to enlighten the dark nations of the earth; and to rescue his people, that the poor and needy may praise his name. Blessed Saviour, thou art the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Make thy people more than conquerors. Be thou, Lord, all in all to them in every situation and circumstances; for then thy poor and needy people will praise thy name.

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Hebrew Mount Zion.
  • [b]. The identification of Leviathan is disputed, ranging from an earthly creature to a mythical sea monster in ancient literature.
  • [c]. Or moon; Hebrew reads light.

Chapter Summary

Psalms 74 Commentaries