“We are given no signs from God; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be.”
Psalm 74: 9
In some ways this Psalm has echoes of Psalm 44; there is an anguished call upon God to help His people as they face calamities, evil, persecution and trouble. In the face of such difficulty God seems to have abandoned them; at the very least to be remaining silent and inactive.
What is noticeable, though, is that despite this situation there is no mention of national or personal sin and no allusion to the waywardness of the people that have been causal factors of such catastrophe. Mourning, grieving and beseeching are clearly present but no complaint, murmuring or doubt. Instead the Psalm calls upon God to defend His name and protect His cause. He is honoured, even praised for who He is, and the prayers are specific and clear. God has made His sanctuary with His people, both of which are under attack; places of worship destroyed. God has not acted, prophets are silent and there seems to be no end in sight. In the face of such oppression God is called upon to help His people, the oppressed, and the poor; to keep His covenant and to honour His own name. A cry, a petition, of faith in the face of adversity, focused on a Sovereign God who owns salvation and is greater than the enemies and powers that are being faced.
This Psalm has a lot to teach us and a deal of encouragement. We will have all faced seriously difficult times, when we call upon God, but He seems silent and inactive. The situations may have in part or directly been caused by ourselves; they may just simply be awful circumstances. Whatever is the case, we are seeking God, but we are not seeing or hearing anything from Him; we see no light at the end of the tunnel (vs. 9). A truly horrible situation. In such conditions this Psalm calls us to act in the following ways, we are to:
The Church, and God’s individual children, have always faced suffering and trials. This Psalm provides an encouragement of response focused on God’s truth. God’s cause and ultimate blessing will always triumph (Ephesians 1: 9-10). He loves us, and if He has called us, He will always bring good out of the situations we face (Romans 8: 28)
The Question of Application
Is our God greater than that which we face?
Father God, help us to humble ourselves under your mighty hand so that you may lift us up in due time. May we cast all our anxiety on you because you care for us. Help us to be alert and of sober mind as our enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. May we resist him, standing firm in our faith, as we know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Then O Lord, as the God of all grace, who called us to your eternal glory in Christ, after we have suffered a little while, will you restore us and make us strong, firm and steadfast. To you be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
(Based on 1 Peter 5: 6-11)
Who shall I fear (God of Angel Armies) by Chris Tomlin
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.