Theme: The Lowest Point in the Psalm
In this week’s lessons we see the need for continual trust and worship, even during times of trouble and uncertainty.
Scripture: Psalm 74:1-23
In verses 9-11, Asaph’s lament reaches its lowest point in an expression of utter abandonment. Scholar Alexander Maclaren rightly calls these verses “the kernel of the psalm, the rest of which is folded round them systematically.”1 This is right, because the psalm seems to descend to this point and then, like Psalm 73 before it, make a turning point in these verses and begin to start back up. Asaph complains, “We are given no miraculous signs; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be.”
It is hard to read this sad confession without thinking of the eighth chapter of Amos where the preacher from Tekoa prophesied just such a time: “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign LORD, ‘when I will send a famine through the land—not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD’” (Amos 8:11).
It is a desperate thing to be without any word from God. Fortunately, this cannot be said of us in our day. We have the word of God in Scripture, and we also have many faithful persons to expound it. Today in the United States (and in many other parts of the world) a person can turn on a radio at almost any time of day or night and listen to faithful gospel preaching. It is not always profound, but it is usually sound. We can go into Christian bookstores and pick up scores of books that endeavor to explain the Scriptures. We can find believing churches in nearly every hamlet, town and city. No, our problem is not an absence of God’s Word or God’s teachers. Our problem is that we do not value this Word. We do not cherish it and study it. We do not memorize its important passages. Instead, we allow countless lesser things (like television) to take the Bible’s place.
Do you have time for God’s Word? Your attitude should be that of John Wesley, the great Methodist evangelist, who wrote, “Give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God!”2
1Alexander Maclaren, The Psalms, vol. 2, pp. 353, 354.
2John Wesley, The Works, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, from the authorized edition of 1872), vol. 5, p. 3
What complaint is at the low point for the psalmist?
Why does Alexander Maclaren call verses 9-11 “the kernel of the psalm”?
Application: Increase the time you spend in Scripture each day, either through memorization, study or meditation. Pray that God will help you cherish his Word.