Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 74. (MsgB)
An Asaph Psalm.
You walked off and left us, and never looked back.
God, how could you do that?
We’re Your very own sheep;
How can you stomp off in anger?
Refresh Your memory of us—You bought us a long time ago.
Your most precious tribe—You paid a good price for us!
Your very own Mount Zion—You actually lived here once!
Come and visit the site of disaster, see how they’ve wrecked the sanctuary.
Scholars believe that Psalm 74 was written sometime during the captivity of God’s people in Babylon.
If you recall the story, Israel, after the reign of King David, began a slow descent into the pits of hell. One king after another came into power but very few of them had the heart for God that King David did. As a result, the united nation of Israel splintered into a divided people and then finally, Israel’s enemies invaded. By 582 BC, Israel was, for the most part, non-existent. Jerusalem had been sacked, the Temple destroyed.
And from Asaph’s viewpoint, the only song he could write during this horrific season was one that cried out the blues to God. A sad song. A difficult-to-read song. A horrific song that’s been sung by God’s people numerous times throughout history. A lament that longs for the good old days when God was near His people and things were going well in life.
The more I reflect on this sad song and stare at Asaph’s words, the more I wonder if these sad thoughts are actually reality. As I see it, Psalm 74, with its claims that God has walked out the door, angry and upset, begs the question.
Does God actually walk out on His people, like Asaph claims here? Or is it the other way around? Is our Loving Father, the Creator of the Universe, really that temperamental or does this Psalm simply reflect a shadowed reality written from our earthly perspective and not His?
I suppose, either way, the sad part of this story is that there are times when there is a big space between God and me. Times when, in reality, there are miles between the spot where God stands and the place where I’m standing.
But if truth be known, doesn’t the Scripture teach us that God is immovable, unchangeable and the Rock of all Ages? And if that’s true, that means when I have seasons in my life when there is a big space between God and me, the truth is that space must be there because I moved. Not God! And while I’m really glad my Bible contains Asaph’s honest lament, I must also remember that this song is here in the Book to teach me how to do it better. In other words, when I read Psalm 74, I must remember that this song was written before the work of Christ was accomplished on the earth. That same Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, promised us that despite the difficulty of this life, there was one thing we could always count on.
So, my friends, let’s raise a glass to a Truth that can never be taken away from us. Even when it seems to us that God has had His fill of our sinfulness and selfishness, He will never take a hike. Never walk out the door. Never be so angry with us that He deserts us. And even though everything here in our earthly realm says that we are alone and isolated… in truth, we are not.
On Christ, the Solid Rock I stand. And on days when there is a space between God and me, I remind myself that it isn’t God who moved, but me. On days when it feels like God has walked out, all I need to do is pick up my suitcase and start running back to Him. I’m guessing I’ll find Him right where I left Him.
Yup. There it is. Right over that next hill. The Cross. I see it now. I’m running back home as fast as my fat little legs will carry me.
Wanna come too?
My prayer: God, thank You for the Truth that cannot be removed. You are immovable, and unchangeable and Your faithfulness never fails. So on days when I feel as though You’ve walked out the door, so angry with me that You may never come back, help me stop and remind myself that my loneliness is not a reality. In Christ, I am never alone. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So when there is a big space between God and me, why do I believe the lie that God moved? What isolation or difficulty in my life today is yelling at me, trying to convince me that my Loving Father has walked out the door, never to return? What actions can I take today to pick up my belongings and run back to the place where God and I were last together?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!