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Reading:                                         Psalm 74

Verses 18-23

Remember how the enemy has mocked you, LORD,
how foolish people have reviled your name.
Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts;
do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.
Have regard for your covenant,
because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.
Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace;
may the poor and needy praise your name.
Rise up, O God,
and defend your cause;
remember how fools mock you all day long.
Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries,
the uproar of your enemies, 
which rises continually (NIV).

Reflection

Psalm 74 was born in a time of disaster and distress. The enemies of the people of God had triumphed. The sanctuary had been destroyed and God was openly mocked. If the LORD was all powerful, why didn’t He prevent this disaster? Why didn’t He shelter His people from this violent storm? There are no quick easy answers to such questions.

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North Gower United Church — photo by David Kitz

Today many of God’s people are living the reality of Psalm 74. Throughout the Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity, churches have been destroyed. Young Christian men have been martyred. Women and girls have been raped and sold into slavery. The pleas expressed in this psalm are an urgent reality. Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.

But we need not live in a land ravaged by jihadists to feel the sting of the LORD’s enemies. Daily at our universities and through various media the Christian faith is mocked. Believers are treated as imbeciles and those who stand for righteousness are ridiculed. We are not being thrown to the lions, but the wisdom of the ages is being tossed on the dung heap, so the godless can pursue their sin without the voice of conscience nattering in the background.

Over all this dissonance the voice of the psalmist—the voice of the martyr—the voice of the believer—cries out: Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long. Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries, the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.

The help of man, though it has value, falls short. We need the help of God. The whispered voice of God has more power than the most eloquent spokesman. Know this child of God: He will arise.

Response: LORD God, defend the helpless. Arise and save your people. Show yourself strong by turning back the enemies of the cross. Our hope is in you. Amen.

Your Turn: Are you confident that God will arise and defend His people? Why is our hope in Him secure?