Psalm 74

From Desolation to Hope



Psalm 74 is an earnest plea from the community of Israel to God during a time of national disaster. They ask God why He has allowed them to suffer and express their hope that He will intervene. It's a lament about the destruction of the Temple, a central symbol of their faith. As New Covenant believers, we can draw parallels between their deep yearning for the restoration of the Temple and our understanding of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Temple, the embodiment of God's presence among His people.

Section 1: Theme - Cry of Desolation (Verses 1-11)

O God, why have you rejected us forever? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture? Remember the nation you purchased long ago, the people of your inheritance, whom you redeemed— Mount Zion, where you dwelt. Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins, all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary. Your foes roared in the place where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs. They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees. They smashed all the carved paneling with their axes and hatchets. They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name. They said in their hearts, "We will crush them completely!" They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land. We are given no signs from God; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will last. 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!


Talking Points:


Section 2: Theme - Call to Remember God's Mighty Deeds (Verses 12-23)

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. 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.


Talking Points:



In Psalm 74, the psalmist's lament resonates deeply with the crucifixion narrative of Jesus Christ. 

The feeling of abandonment by God, expressed in the psalmist's cry, is echoed by Jesus on the cross in Matthew 27:46. However, the psalmist's call to remember God's past acts of deliverance points us to the ultimate act of deliverance—Jesus' resurrection—where God again demonstrated His mighty power.

Furthermore, the psalmist's yearning for the restoration of the Temple takes on new significance in light of Jesus' words in John 2:19-21, where He refers to His body as the Temple. 

In Christ, God's presence is restored not in a physical building, but in the person of His Son. Thus, as New Covenant believers, we see our hope fulfilled in Christ—the true Temple, the ultimate sign of God's presence, and the ultimate act of God's intervention.