If we as believers and followers of Christ cannot defend the weak, who will? In Psalm 82:3 Asaph says, Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. The powerful people of this world have the ability to do what they will, sometimes with little or no regard for others. If we do not stand for those who cannot stand for themselves, then no one will. We are to be a reflection of Christ who would have stood for the weak if He were here today.
Israel’s holidays are reminders of God’s miracles in delivering the people from evil. Asaph used Psalm 81 to remind the people of God’s deliverance in the exodus from Egypt. In Psalm 81:1 he calls out the people to praise God, Sing for joy to God our Strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! Our Christian holidays (Christmas and Easter) should be reminders to us of the hope we have in God and His ultimate deliverance of us through salvation. Let us not forget the true meaning behind why we celebrate and why God is worthy of our praise.
Three times the writer repeats his call to God in Psalm 80:3,7,19, Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. Restoration into relationship with God is a continuous process. While grace was granted to us all through Christ, fellowship with Him requires effort to building a strong relationship with God. To many people salvation only serves the purpose of eternal life, but God’s ultimate purpose of Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation was to give us a way to a personal relationship with Him. If we miss this, we are missing out on a life of purpose.
In the Old Testament, God would often bring wrath and judgement on an entire nation because of the sins of the people within that nation. In Psalm 79:6 Asaph pleaded with God to bring judgement on the kingdoms that refused to acknowledge God’s authority, Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you, on the kingdoms that do not call on your name. It is interesting to see that Asaph was ultimately praying for the foreign nation’s submission to God and not for necessarily for conquest. May we be as obedient in our prayers for those who do not believe the same as us. May we pray for their relationship with God and may God use those around us, including our enemies, to bring us and them to a righteous knowledge and relationship with God.
In today’s Psalm, Asaph goes over the history of Israel leading up to David as king. Israel made many mistakes and had plenty of lessons to learn. Psalm 78:1 says, O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. In the end, David became their ruler. And while he was far from perfect, his heart was in tune with God’s will. At the end of Asaph’s recollection of history, he says in Psalm 78:72, And David Shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them. God does not call for perfect leaders, He calls for leaders who are obedient to His perfect will.
The author in today’s reading in Psalm asks a beautifully rhetorical question in Psalm 77:13 Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? In the time when this Psalm was written, and no less so today, there were and are many things placed in higher regard than our God. But there is nothing greater or more important to our lives than our Almighty God. Take some time to try to find anything more steadfast or true… you won’t find anything. Not our friends, not our family, or organizations; nothing.
We are not to fear attacks from others. God has the power to stop even the most powerful enemy in their tracks. Psalm 76:6 says, At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both horse and chariot lie still. God is in control in every circumstance. Trust in Him and His will for your life. Trust that God has the big picture in His sight and has the perfect plan.
God is the ultimate judge and only He can decide who will be judged and the consequences of doing both good and evil. Psalm 75:7 says, But it is God who judges: He brings one down, He exalts another. Ultimate judgement from God will come and we must trust in God that it will fair and just.
Psalm 74 was believed to be written by Asaph who was a leader of one of the temple choirs or one of his descendants since it was most likely written after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. In this Psalm, the author pleads for God’s help to defend the people from the enemy. This is a great example for us to know it is ok for us to plead to God for help and to know He hears us. Psalm 74:12 says, But you, O God, are my king from of old; you bring salvation upon the earth. Trust in God and know He hears our requests. He will answer in His timing and according to His will.
The desire for God should be all-consuming to us. There should be nothing we want more than to have a personal relationship with Him and to do His will. In Psalm 73:25 the author Asaph says, Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. The earthly desires we may have is fleeting. There is nothing here for us that can give us ultimate satisfaction. It is when we look to heaven and the things that impact eternity that we find peace and satisfaction.