My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

03 May 2005

Confidence - Psalm 74:12-23

Psalm 74:12-23

(74B in the Crown & Covenant Psalter)


Amidst a destructive world, confidence comes through knowing and worshipping the sovereign and faithful God.


I. 74:1-11 Lament over Jerusalem’s destruction

II. 74:12-17 Remembering God’s power and faithfulness

III. 74:18-23 Pleading with God to act


The context of this Psalm is probably the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar’s forces in 586 b.c. This destruction included leveling the temple (v. 3,7), desecrating the sacred elements (v. 4,6), and removing all true prophets (v. 9). Naturally, this destruction resulted in a period of great mourning and longing for God to act in justice (v. 1-11).

After the heartbreaking lament (see 74A), the Psalmist starts the next section with a powerful “yet”. Despite the surrounding devastation, God has always proved Himself faithful and sovereign. Specifically, we sing that God has always been working for the salvation of His people, the great news being that He will never change from that course. Then we sing of the power of God in creation and in making His creation do what He tells it to – verses 15 and 16 remind us of God’s miraculous power in delivering His people from Egypt (and us from bondage to Satan and sin).

Following the great reminder of who God is and what He’s done, this song directs us to plead with God. We plead with God that He would remember how evil evil is (v. 18), that He would not abandon His people (v. 19), that He would be faithful to the covenant (v. 20), that He would protect those without protection (v. 21), and – most importantly – that He would arise against His enemies to defend and promote His glory. The tone of this final section helps the singer to remember that there is no hope apart from God, that wickedness would conquer all if it were not for the sovereign Lord. This final part also teaches us to plead with God, using three great “arguments” – His love, His covenant, and His glory.

Verses 12 and 20 both point us to Jesus Christ. The salvation that God has been working from before time (v. 12) is centered upon the person and work of Jesus. The covenant (v. 20) of God is the relationship the Father began with His people, a relationship only made possible by the life, sacrifice, and resurrection of Jesus. When we sing for God to remember His covenant, we are pleading with Him to remember Christ’s work on our behalf.


Ø Ongoing wickedness ought to drive us to pray and sing and remember the faithfulness and power of God.

Ø Don’t be an ostrich Christian; keep your head out of the sand, don’t ignore wickedness, but understand both this world and God’s sovereignty.

Ø Rejoice in God’s past displays of greatness and use those to gather confidence for His future victories.

Singing Psalm 74B

This driving tune matches well with the victorious tone of the Psalm. Sing with boldness and confidence (i.e., sing loudly!).

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