Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 3, 2016

“Arise, O God, and plead Your own cause” – “Consider the covenant” – “Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, Which You have redeemed”

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm chapter 74.

“O God, why have You rejected us forever?
Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?
Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old,
Which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance;
And this Mount Zion, where You have dwelt.
3 Turn Your footsteps toward the perpetual ruins;
The enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary.
4 Your adversaries have roared in the midst of Your meeting place;
They have set up their own standards for signs.
5 It seems as if one had lifted up
His axe in a forest of trees.
6 And now all its carved work
They smash with hatchet and hammers.
They have burned Your sanctuary to the ground;
They have defiled the dwelling place of Your name.
8 They said in their heart, “Let us completely subdue them.”
They have burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
9 We do not see our signs;
There is no longer any prophet,
Nor is there any among us who knows how long.
10 How long, O God, will the adversary revile,
And the enemy spurn Your name forever?
11 Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand?
From within Your bosom, destroy them!

12 Yet God is my king from of old,
Who works deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth.
13 You divided the sea by Your strength;
You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters.
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
You gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
15 You broke open springs and torrents;
You dried up ever-flowing streams.
16 Yours is the day, Yours also is the night;
You have prepared the light and the sun.
17 You have established all the boundaries of the earth;
You have made summer and winter.

18 Remember this, O Lord, that the enemy has reviled,
And a foolish people has spurned Your name.
19 Do not deliver the soul of Your turtledove to the wild beast;
Do not forget the life of Your afflicted forever.
20 Consider the covenant;
For the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.
21 Let not the oppressed return dishonored;
Let the afflicted and needy praise Your name.

22 Arise, O God, and plead Your own cause;
Remember how the foolish man reproaches You all day long.
23 Do not forget the voice of Your adversaries,
The uproar of those who rise against You which ascends continually.”  Psalm chapter 74.

——————————

Today’s Scripture shows us the basis of our hope that God will deliver us and otherwise help us, particularly when it seems to us that the world is getting worse and worse.

There is the reminder that the people who are experiencing the afflictions are God’s people whom He has purchased.

“Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old,
Which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance;
And this Mount Zion, where You have dwelt.”  Verse 2.

There is the reminder that God loves us.  In the following verse, we notice the use of the tender intimate nickname of “turtledove” for His beloved.

“Do not deliver the soul of Your turtledove to the wild beast;
Do not forget the life of Your afflicted forever.”  Verse 19.

There is the reminder that it is God’s covenant through which He takes care of His people.

“Consider the covenant;
For the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.”  Verse 20.

There is the reminder that it is God’s name and God’s cause at stake.

“They have burned Your sanctuary to the ground;
They have defiled the dwelling place of Your name.”  Verse 7.

“Arise, O God, and plead Your own cause;
Remember how the foolish man reproaches You all day long.”  Verse 22.

Other doctrine depends on its own goodness and its own cuteness in praying to God to deliver and otherwise help it.

But, Reformed Doctrine knows that there is no goodness and no cuteness in the natural condition of man (which it labels as “Total Depravity”) and that it can only hope and depend on God’s cause, God’s name, God’s covenant, God’s love, and God’s choice of His people whom He purchased for redemption.  

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