|Cast Off? Ruined?|
The Story: We need to remind ourselves that Asaph began his work during the time of Solomon, the period of Israel’s greatest achievement and prosperity (1 Kings 10). Yet in this psalm – as in most of his psalms – Asaph decries the condition of the nation and the city of Jerusalem. To him God seemed to have cast off His people; Asaph saw the anger of the Lord smoldering against the people of Israel. He calls on the Lord to “remember” His chosen and redeemed people; that word, “remember”, has enormous covenant significance for those who are seeking renewal from the Lord (cf. Ex. 2:24). With the “second sight” of a prophet and a poet, Asaph saw through all the outward glitter and prosperity to the heart of a nation which had fallen through temptation into compromises of worship and everyday life. Even as the people enjoyed their greatest prosperity and peace, the enemy had ruined their souls; the destruction of the nation would not be far off.
The Structure: This large, continuous section of the psalms of Asaph (73-83) fittingly begins with Psalm 73. Asaph saw within himself the same destructive tendencies of sin that he could see at work in the nation. He pointed his finger first at himself, and only after that at the people of Israel. In a fallen age, when the powers of sin and corruption work hardest to forestall the progress of the Kingdom, we need prophetic voices who will speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) to the churches. Undoubtedly Asaph’s psalms caused people to look around and scratch their heads: “What in the world is he talking about?” But he insisted on forcing the eyes of their hearts inward, to the very soul of the nation, where compromise with idolatry and departure from the Law of God had already begun to take their toll. It is highly significant that, at a similar time, yet one when the destruction was everywhere in evidence, King Hezekiah instructed those who were charged with rebuilding the temple to sing the songs of Asaph as they built, doubtless to remind themselves of why this ruin, from which they were extricating themselves, had come about in the first place (2 Chron. 29:30). Do we need to be singing the psalms of Asaph in our own day?
In what ways do churches compromise with worldliness? What should church members do when they sense this is happening?
For more insight on reading the Psalms, get the book, How to Read the Psalms, by Tremper Longman III.
The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.