Day #48 (Psalms 74 & 75)
Serve Children and Youth
This weekend, consider ways you can serve and love the children and youth in your life. Instead of using your time to advance your own agenda, spend time playing with, helping, serving, or just getting to know children. If there are no children in your life, consider reaching out to Becky Toney to get involved with CRPC children's ministry or Zachary Pitcher for CRPC youth ministry.
Read: Psalm 74
2nd Reading: Psalm 75
(Ps 74:21-22) "Let the poor and needy praise your name. Arise, O God, defend your cause; remember how the foolish scoff at you all the day!"
Psalm 74 is written from the perspective of people who are suffering and feel abandoned by God (v.1-3.) Like in many psalms, prayers are offered for God to intervene in the situation. However, Psalm 74 rides on the backs of God's covenant promises. For example, at the end of the psalm we read, "Have regard for your covenant (v.20.)" When God made a covenant with Abraham, and later expanded to his descendants after he brought Israel out of Egypt, he promised that he would fight for Israel. Because of their covenant relationship, they would have the same enemies. It functions sort of like a modern defense treaty between nations (think, "NATO.")
At key points in the psalm, the enemies in view are described as God's enemies (v.4-8.) In particular, it appears that this references the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by Babylon around 586 BC. At that time, Israel was taken into captivity and appeared to all the world as utterly defeated and humiliated. Now, the poor and downtrodden are shamed and the land is full of violence (v.20-21.) So, the psalmist pleads for God to "defend your cause." That is, he prays for God to show his power to the world by redeeming his people.
Unfortunately, it is not hard to find connections to our own day and age. The church is God's covenant people after the resurrection of Jesus, and it includes people from every tribe and tongue and nation. But I think that most people would agree that the American church is at a low ebb of vitality. Overall, church attendance continues to decline. Influence on the culture seems to be at an all time low, and our nation is increasingly considered "post-Christian." Important leaders have fallen into sin and infighting has escalated within the visible church. Many older Christians start to feel like aliens in their own country. Praying Psalm 74 for our situation makes a lot of sense. We feel that the sanctuary of God is (figuratively) broken down (v.4-8) and our enemies scoff and revile the name of God (v.18.) In this psalm we are reminded that when the church is cast down, God's name and honor are diminished. Just like he did with Israel in the exile, God may use the world to discipline the church, but his end result is to glorify his own name through the influence of the Gospel. When we pray for the church to be renewed and restored, we are not just praying for our cause... we are ultimately praying for God to defend and advance his cause - the cause of the Kingdom of Heaven coming on earth as it is in heaven.
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City Reformed Presbyterian Church
The 90 Days project is a collaborative effort of many church leaders. Matt Koerber and Daniel Snoke have taken lead roles, with others helping to write daily devotionals.