Recently I a precious friend posted this note after having lived through “hell and back.”
“I’ve been thinking that I’d been rejected these past two years. God told me today that wasn’t true, I’ve been redirected. His plans are always best and I always trust in His guidance and love. Feeling really in love with God and His Word lately. It’s a real good feeling.”
This captures in a nutshell the entire message of Ps 74 and exactly what Asaph was saying as he penned this psalm and is now here for us to ponder. As you ponder think about these words:
Listen to Asaph as he pleads for understanding from God. Three times he asks why and this is exactly what we are to do when we are facing a conundrum. Asaph rightly asks three questions:
Why have you permanently rejected us? Skip over to Rom 11:1 and see how Paul answered that question: 11:1 “So I ask, God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not!” and again in Hebrews the author reminds us of this timeless truth: “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.” Asaph surely knew this as a principle from Deut “he will be with you; he will not fail you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged!” But in his despair this is how he was viewing his nation’s predicament. Perhaps you too have felt this way because of some circumstance you are facing. Listen again to my friend’s words: God told me! When God speaks it is with words of lovingkindness to remind us of His steadfast and loyal love.
Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture? Again Asaph implores God to remember his people as the sheep who are vulnerable, pitiful, without understanding and in need of direction. Asaph knew this principle: Joh 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. That is why he could be so bold to seek the attention of his king (note vs . 12…God is my king) The circumstance was still before him but as one of God’s own, God’s sheep he could trust in God’s leadership at the appointed time.
Why do you withdraw your hand, even your right hand? Asaph is asking God for understanding as to why God has not used his power and might as king of Israel to restore the nation from the barbarians. The psalmist pictures God as having placed his right hand (symbolic of activity and strength) inside his robe against his chest. He prays that God would pull his hand out from under his robe and use it to destroy the enemy. That is the boldness of a believer. We can ask and seek God’s power to be revealed and He will. “Expect God to act and He will.”
From vs 11 onward Asaph comes to terms with his requests much like Job. “Indeed, I am completely unworthy – how could I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth to silence myself.” And yet as a child of God we have the blessing of being able to enter in to the holiest of holies. Heb 4:16 Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help. He pleads with God to reveal His power. Now, when we move to Ps 75 we see the answer to the prayer of Asaph: God says, “At the appointed times, I judge fairly…For I am the judge! I bring one down and exalt another.”And that is the total reason why we can trust in God and rely upon His timing and perfect plan.
Asaph now declares much like my friend: 75:9 As for me, I will continually tell what you have done; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob! That is the whole answer when we are faced with life’s challenges and find ourselves being drawn down into the pit of despond. Lifting up God and praising Him redirects our thinking and elevates our spirits to the highest level. Where are you feeling rejected? Ask God to reveal His redirection plan for you!