A maskil of Asaph.
This is the third of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph
1 Why have you rejected us forever, O God? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?
2 Remember the people you purchased of old, the tribe of your inheritance, whom you redeemed Mount Zion, where you dwelt.
3 Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins, all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary.
4 Your foes roared in the place where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs.
5 They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees.
6 They smashed all the carved paneling with their axes and hatchets.
7 They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name.
8 They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!” They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land.
9 We are given no miraculous signs; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be.
10 How long will the enemy mock you, O God? Will the foe revile your name forever?
11 Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!
12 But you, O God, are my king from of old; you bring salvation upon the earth.
13 It was you who split open the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.
14 It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.
15 It was you who opened up springs and streams; you dried up the ever flowing rivers.
16 The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon.
17 It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.
18 Remember how the enemy has mocked you, O LORD, how foolish people have reviled your name.
19 Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.
20 Have regard for your covenant, because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.
21 Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name.
22 Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long.
23 Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries, the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.
This psalm starts with these two questions: why have you rejected us forever, O God’ and why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture? He then goes on in the psalm and writes about the power of God, verses the pride of the wicked. Why God does permit the wicked to mock Him and his people. These are questions that we ask God when everything around us seems to be falling apart. Why does it seem godless prosper?
Asaph also tackles the question of why a sovereign God permits evil and why this evil behavior seems to prosper. In verse 22 he writes “Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long.” One of the most difficult questions I can’t answer is “why does God permit evil?” Every time I ask this question I go to Genesis chapter three. Why was the tree of knowledge of good and evil placed in the Garden of Eden? Why was Satan allowed to tempt Adam and Eve in the Garden? Was man created by God as a result of Satan’s rebellion?
As I read this psalm I realize that sometimes when I read the Bible I end up having more questions than answers. However, I know that I can always fall back on the faithfulness of God. The battle of the godless (wicked) against God present questions that I may never understand.