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.
In this psalm Asaph tackles the question of why a sovereign God permits evil and why this evil behavior seems to prosper. This is a struggle that many have try to grasp and have even wrote books about this struggle. One of my favorite books is the Lord of the Rings written by J. R. R. Tolkien. Tolkien books which were published between 1954 and 1955 and reflected the world in which he lived. He had fought in World War I and witness the trench warfare of this war. He also witness the effects that World War II left on this world. These events probably shaped the battle scenes in his books. The battles in his writing seem to reflect the same details as Asaph writes in this psalm. Amazing the natural of mankind has not improved since Cain killed Abel. If fact the further away we remove God away from our everyday life the more wickedness grows in our society, And yet man finds ways and uses their imaginations to made the wickedness of their heart to seem justified to the world around them.
However, Asaph ask of the Lord to remember the people you have purchased and not to handle them over to these wild beasts. Asaph starts this psalm out by asking God why he has rejected them. He ends this psalm with the plea “Rise up, O God, and defend your cause”. As I read this psalm I realize that the battle is not centered around me or anyone else, it is God’s battle. The battle we see in this world today is not only man against man, but man rebelling against God. It is our place in the battle to stand up for God’s way. We are the light that God has placed in this world as a witness against their wackiness. And yet we must be careful ,as his chosen vessels, not to forget the way of God. We must avoid letting sin become our master. This is why we must stay in God’s word. To give us the light to live our daily life.