You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters.
You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
You split open springs and brooks; you dried up ever-flowing streams.
Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.
You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter.
Remember this, O LORD, how the enemy scoffs, and a foolish people reviles your name.
Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild beasts; do not forget the life of your poor forever.
Have regard for the covenant, for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.
Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame; let the poor and needy praise your name.
Arise, O God, defend your cause; remember how the foolish scoff at you all the day!
Do not forget the clamor of your foes, the uproar of those who rise against you, which goes up continually!
– Psalm 74:13-23
Asaph is convinced that now is the time for God to stand up for his name and his cause, and wipe out all who have scoffed at him. His people are hurting, and the very name of the Lord is being ridiculed and mocked continually.
I love how the Psalms are both inspired and also from a flawed human perspective. They are the words of a perfect God viewing the world from the perspective of messed up, hurting humanity. These psalms, just like when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, are the word of God telling us that he understands us to our core. He didn’t just make us. He doesn’t just know how we feel. He has experienced, and does experience, how we feel.
Asaph is telling God that it is time to quit the longsuffering stuff and start dealing out judgment. In hindsight, we can read a psalm like this and realize how incredibly not-done with suffering our God was. He would endure it through the medium of human flesh as well, and at the same time watch from heaven as his Son was destroyed, on our behalf, at our own hands. No, Asaph, he’s not done enduring the suffering as of Psalm 74. I’m so thankful he wasn’t done.
I tend toward anger when I feel short-changed on recognition or compassion or respect. My God deserves so much more glory than I ever will, and he suffers so much more contempt than I ever will.
By no coincidence, I also read Revelation 5 this morning. That is the God who is still receiving insults from the people he created and rescued. He’s not done suffering, but he will not suffer forever, just like he promised us that we would not either.
Father, thank you for revealing to me that whatever thanklessness and disrespect I endure, you understand it. And you didn’t just endure it so that you would have the upper hand in an argument against me. You did it to show me that I’m not alone. You know that feeling of being lashed out at after you’ve given so much. You know how much it hurts when you give yourself away to someone and you receive only cruelty in return. I’m only beginning to experience a shadow of the pain you’ve been enduring through the ages. If anyone can help me through this, it is you.
Thanks for following along with this Weekly REAP series. It’s been an eye-opening year full of seeing and sharing how the Bible cuts things out of my heart like a scalpel. I hope this answered some questions about the REAP method of study and encourages some folks to try it for themselves.
I didn’t write any of these with publishing in mind, so forgive me if they don’t always wax eloquent. Here is some more information on the REAP study method.