Reading: Psalm 74
We are given no signs from God;
no prophets are left,
and none of us knows how long this will be.
How long will the enemy mock you, God?
Will the foe revile your name forever?
Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?
Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!
But God is my King from long ago;
he brings salvation on the earth.
It was you who split open the sea by your power;
you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.
It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan
and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert.
It was you who opened up springs and streams;
you dried up the ever-flowing rivers.
The day is yours, and yours also the night;
you established the sun and moon.
It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
you made both summer and winter (NIV).
Do you watch for road signs? I’m inclined to say yes, of course I do. But if I am traveling through a familiar neighborhood or to a familiar location, I pay very little attention to road signs. After all, I know where I am going and how to get there. But put me in unfamiliar territory without a GPS, and the situation changes dramatically. I am hunting for road signs like a hungry hawk hunts for field mice. Every sign is spotted well in advance; the details are read and repeated to cement them into my memory. Landmarks and the appearance of the terrain are memorized for future reference. I do all this because I don’t like being lost.
In our reading from Psalm 74, the psalmist finds himself in unfamiliar territory. The nation has been invaded and the enemy has desecrated the temple. This is an enormous loss. But beyond the loss, there appears to be no way forward. The psalmist laments, “We are given no signs from God; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be. How long will the enemy mock you, God?”
When I am lost, I watch for signs. But in this situation God gave no signs. After the psalmist pours out his complaint before God, he does not stay there. He goes on to recall the miraculous works of God. He reminds God of His interventions into the affairs of humankind. He makes this bold personal declaration, “But God is my King from long ago; he brings salvation on the earth.”
As we pray for our nation, we would do well to pattern our prayers on Psalm 74.
Response: LORD God, you see the sins of our nation. Bring us back to you. You are the Almighty God. You do not change. Bring your salvation on the earth even as you did long ago. You are my King. Amen.
Your Turn: Why is it helpful to recall God’s mighty deeds in your life?