Author: Asaph or one of his descendants. Many believe this psalm was written after Jerusalem’s fall in 586 B.C.
Verse 1 – O God, why have You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?
Verse 2 – Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old. The tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed – this Mount Zion where You have dwelt.
Evidently, God had grown angry over Israel’s sin and idolatry for many years. I don’t know if Jerusalem was destroyed at this time when Asaph wrote this, but it sure sounds like something came against them to make them feel as if God had deserted them.
Verse 3 – Lift up Your feet to the perpetual desolation. The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary.
Verse 4 – Your enemies roar in the midst of Your meeting place; they set up their banner for signs.
Verse 5 – They seem like men who lift up Axes among the thick trees.
Verse 6 – And now they break down its carved work, all at once, with aces and hammers.
Verse 7 – They have set fire to Your sanctuary; they have defiled the dwelling place of Your name to the ground.
Verse 8 – They said in their hearts, “Let us destroy them altogether.” They have burned up all the meeting places of God in the land.
When Israel;’s enemies attacked Jerusalem, they tried to wipe out any trace of God. They didn’t seem to know that no one can eliminate the presence of our Living God.
The same thing is happening in our society today: God haters don’t want Him being taught in our schools; they don’t want Him mentioned in prayer before an event; and they try to remove any mention in sacred documents.
There is absolutely no fear of judgment of God when our government makes laws contrary to God’s laws. However, God will never leave His beloved believer.
Verse 9 – We do not see our signs; there is no longer any prophet; nor is there any among us who knows how long.
Verse 10 – O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever?
Sometimes it seems to us that God is just too slow to intervene on our behalf. But this is what I’ve learned through the years: God is always right on time; He works things out behind what we are able to see in the situation; and sometimes He has to do a work in us in order for us to handle what He is about to bless us with. God sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). He also says the latter is better than the former (Haggai 2:9).
Verse 11 – Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand? Take it out of Your bosom and destroy them.
Verse 12 – For God is my King from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.
Verse 13 – You divide the sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the sea serpents in the water.
Verse 14 – You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces, and gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
These verses are interesting. When mentioning the sea monsters in the water, it recalls the Lord’s words to Egypt (Ezekiel 32:2). Leviathan refers to the Canaanite seven headed serpent, “Lotan, in their legends. In their legends, Baal defeated these creatures. God did in reality what these false gods could only do in legend history.
Verse 15 – You broke open the fountain and the flood; You dried up mighty rivers (Joshua 2:10; 3:13).
The Canaanite’s, again gave credit for this act, when in fact it was God all Mighty who performed it.
Verse 16 – The day is Yours, the night also is Yours; You have prepared the light and the sun.
Verse 17 – You have set all the borders of the earth; You have made summer and winter.
Verse 18 – Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O Lord, and that a foolish people has blasphemed Your name.
Verse 19 – Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtle-dove to the wild beast! Don’t forget the life of Your poor forever.
Verse 20 – Have respect to the covenant; for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.
Verse 21 – Oh, do not let the oppressed return ashamed! Let the poor and needy praise Your name.
The poor and needy, often refer to those who are faithful to Yahweh.
Verse 22 – Arise, O God, plead Your own cause; remember how the foolish man reproaches You daily.
Verse 23 – Do not forget the voices of Your enemies; the tumult of those who rise up against You increases continually.
Tumult means confusion. Did you know God can cause those who plot against His children to be confused and turn on themselves, who plan to do harm? It happened many times in Bible history, so why not still today?