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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

July 13 2023

Today, Thursday July 13

Never Cast Out

Psalm 74:18-23

A Contemplation of Asaph

“Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O LORD, And that a foolish people has blasphemed Your name. Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtledove to the wild beast! Do not forget the life of Your poor forever. 0 Have respect to the covenant; For the dark places of the earth are full of the haunts of cruelty.

Oh, do not let the oppressed return ashamed! Let the poor and needy praise Your name. Arise, O God, plead Your own cause; Remember how the foolish man reproaches You daily. Do not forget the voice of Your enemies; The tumult of those who rise up against You increases continually.”

In Psalm 73, the Asaph of David’s time had a personal problem in his thinking as he looked at the prosperity of the wicked and the suffering of the godly. It made him think that he was living for the Lord in vain, until he went into the sanctuary and saw their end and the final destruction of the evil and ungodly people. Now in Psalm 74, almost 400 years later, a descendant of Asaph with the same name, had a national dilemma as he watched the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Babylonians.

In verse 1, Asaph asked the question, “O God, why have you cast us off forever?...” As he continued to describe the invasion of the enemy, it appeared to him that God was not paying any attention to terrible things that were happening to His people. But then in verses 12-17, Asaph looks up and remembers the God who sits on His throne and Who is the creator of all things! He remembers how God powerfully provided for His people in the past and he had hope that God could do it again for them presently.

Now in these final verses 18-23, Asaph remember the Covenant that God had made with His people, and he ask God to remember it also. Since righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne (Psalm 89:14), it was logical for Asaph to move in his thoughts from God's throne to God's covenant with Israel. God’s covenant with Israel is clearly spelled out in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28-30.

Asaph knew the terms of the covenant. It was very simple and could be summarized easily. If Israel obeyed the Lord, He would bless them; if they disobeyed, He would chasten them; if they confessed their sins, He would forgive them. Asaph knew that the Jews had mocked the prophets that God sent to them to turn them from their idolatry (2 Chron. 36:16) and now the Babylonians were mocking the Lord as they destroyed the city and temple. He knew that Israel had not honored God's name but had turned His temple into a den of thieves (Jeremiah 7:11).

In verse 19, Asaph saw the nation as a defenseless dove that had no way of escape. Had the kings and leaders listened to their prophets and led the nation back to the Lord, all this carnage and destruction would have been averted. But the Lord was paying attention to His covenant! That was why He was chastening His people. Asaph was concerned about the glory of God's name and the survival of God's people.

It was God's cause and the honor of His name that was uppermost on God’s mind (v. 22). I’m sure Asaph watched in horror as both the “foolish people” of Israel reproached the name of Jehovah, and now the pagan Babylonians fill the earth with their “cruelty” (v. 20). The prophet Jeremiah had preached about the dependability of God's covenant (Jer. 33:19-26), and Asaph was asking God to fulfill His purposes for the nation.

The nation had been ravaged, the city of Jerusalem had been wrecked, and the temple had been destroyed and burned. But the essentials had not been touched by the enemy! The nation still had Jehovah God as their God, His Word and His covenant had not been changed, and Jehovah was at work in the world! God is at work in our world today, and we need not despair.

Yes, the people of God can be “cast off” for a time of chastening (Psalm 74:1). We can personally be “cast down” because of our suffering (Psalm 42:11). We might get lazy and be “cast away” (1 Corinthians 9:27). But my friend, we never need to fear being “cast out”, because of the covenant promise Jesus has made with us! John 6:37 assures us: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” Because “nothing can ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:39).

God bless!

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