SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
74:1 A well-written song by Asaph.
Why, O God, have you permanently rejected us?
Why does your anger burn against the sheep of your pasture?
2 Remember your people whom you acquired in ancient times,
whom you rescued so they could be your very own nation,
as well as Mount Zion, where you dwell.
3 Hurry to the permanent ruins,
and to all the damage the enemy has done to the temple.
4 Your enemies roar in the middle of your sanctuary;
they set up their battle flags.
5 They invade like lumberjacks
swinging their axes in a thick forest.
6 And now they are tearing down all its engravings
with axes and crowbars.
7 They set your sanctuary on fire;
they desecrate your dwelling place by knocking it to the ground.
8 They say to themselves,
“We will oppress all of them.”
They burn down all the places in the land where people worship God.
9 We do not see any signs of God’s presence;
there are no longer any prophets,
and we have no one to tell us how long this will last.
10 How long, O God, will the adversary hurl insults?
Will the enemy blaspheme your name forever?
11 Why do you remain inactive?
Intervene and destroy him.
12 But God has been my king from ancient times,
performing acts of deliverance on the earth.
13 You destroyed the sea by your strength;
you shattered the heads of the sea monster in the water.
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
you fed him to the people who live along the coast.
15 You broke open the spring and the stream;
you dried up perpetually flowing rivers.
16 You established the cycle of day and night;
you put the moon and sun in place.
17 You set up all the boundaries of the earth;
you created the cycle of summer and winter.
18 Remember how the enemy hurls insults, O Lord,
and how a foolish nation blasphemes your name.
19 Do not hand the life of your dove over to a wild animal.
Do not continue to disregard the lives of your oppressed people.
20 Remember your covenant promises,
for the dark regions of the earth are full of places where violence rules.
21 Do not let the afflicted be turned back in shame.
Let the oppressed and poor praise your name.
22 Rise up, O God. Defend your honor.
Remember how fools insult you all day long.
23 Do not disregard what your enemies say
or the unceasing shouts of those who defy you.
75:1 For the music director, according to the al-tashcheth style; a psalm of Asaph, a song.
We give thanks to you, O God. We give thanks.
You reveal your presence;
people tell about your amazing deeds.
2 God says,
“At the appointed times,
I judge fairly.
3 When the earth and all its inhabitants dissolve in fear,
I make its pillars secure.” (Selah)
4 I say to the proud, “Do not be proud,”
and to the wicked, “Do not be so confident of victory.
5 Do not be so certain you have won.
Do not speak with your head held so high.
6 For victory does not come from the east or west,
or from the wilderness.
7 For God is the judge.
He brings one down and exalts another.
8 For the Lord holds in his hand a cup
full of foaming wine mixed with spices,
and pours it out.
Surely all the wicked of the earth
will slurp it up and drink it to its very last drop.”
9 As for me, I will continually tell what you have done;
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10 God says,
“I will bring down all the power of the wicked;
the godly will be victorious.”
76:1 For the music director, to be accompanied by stringed instruments; a psalm of Asaph, a song.
God has revealed himself in Judah;
in Israel his reputation is great.
2 He lives in Salem;
he dwells in Zion.
3 There he shattered the arrows,
the shield, the sword, and the rest of the weapons of war. (Selah)
4 You shine brightly and reveal your majesty,
as you descend from the hills where you killed your prey.
5 The bravehearted were plundered;
they “fell asleep.”
All the warriors were helpless.
6 At the sound of your battle cry, O God of Jacob,
both rider and horse “fell asleep.”
7 You are awesome! Yes, you!
Who can withstand your intense anger?
8 From heaven you announced what their punishment would be.
The earth was afraid and silent
9 when God arose to execute judgment,
and to deliver all the oppressed of the earth. (Selah)
10 Certainly your angry judgment upon men will bring you praise;
you reveal your anger in full measure.
11 Make vows to the Lord your God and repay them.
Let all those who surround him bring tribute to the awesome one.
12 He humbles princes;
the kings of the earth regard him as awesome.
77:1 For the music director, Jeduthun; a psalm of Asaph.
I will cry out to God and call for help.
I will cry out to God and he will pay attention to me.
2 In my time of trouble I sought the Lord.
I kept my hand raised in prayer throughout the night.
I refused to be comforted.
3 I said, “I will remember God while I groan;
I will think about him while my strength leaves me.” (Selah)
4 You held my eyelids open;
I was troubled and could not speak.
5 I thought about the days of old,
about ancient times.
6 I said, “During the night I will remember the song I once sang;
I will think very carefully.”
I tried to make sense of what was happening.
7 I asked, “Will the Lord reject me forever?
Will he never again show me his favor?
8 Has his loyal love disappeared forever?
Has his promise failed forever?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has his anger stifled his compassion?” (Selah)
10 Then I said, “I am sickened by the thought
that the Most High might become inactive.
11 I will remember the works of the Lord.
Yes, I will remember the amazing things you did long ago.
12 I will think about all you have done;
I will reflect upon your deeds.”
13 O God, your deeds are extraordinary.
What god can compare to our great God?
14 You are the God who does amazing things;
you have revealed your strength among the nations.
15 You delivered your people by your strength—
the children of Jacob and Joseph. (Selah)
16 The waters saw you, O God,
the waters saw you and trembled.
Yes, the depths of the sea shook with fear.
17 The clouds poured down rain;
the skies thundered.
Yes, your arrows flashed about.
18 Your thunderous voice was heard in the wind;
the lightning bolts lit up the world.
The earth trembled and shook.
19 You walked through the sea;
you passed through the surging waters,
but left no footprints.
20 You led your people like a flock of sheep,
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
78:1 A well-written song by Asaph.
Pay attention, my people, to my instruction.
Listen to the words I speak.
2 I will sing a song that imparts wisdom;
I will make insightful observations about the past.
3 What we have heard and learned—
that which our ancestors have told us—
4 we will not hide from their descendants.
We will tell the next generation
about the Lord’s praiseworthy acts,
about his strength and the amazing things he has done.
5 He established a rule in Jacob;
he set up a law in Israel.
He commanded our ancestors
to make his deeds known to their descendants,
6 so that the next generation, children yet to be born,
might know about them.
They will grow up and tell their descendants about them.
7 Then they will place their confidence in God.
They will not forget the works of God,
and they will obey his commands.
8 Then they will not be like their ancestors,
who were a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation that was not committed
and faithful to God.
9 The Ephraimites were armed with bows,
but they retreated in the day of battle.
10 They did not keep their covenant with God,
and they refused to obey his law.
11 They forgot what he had done,
the amazing things he had shown them.
12 He did amazing things in the sight of their ancestors,
in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea and led them across it;
he made the water stand in a heap.
14 He led them with a cloud by day
and with the light of a fire all night long.
15 He broke open rocks in the wilderness
and gave them enough water to fill the depths of the sea.
16 He caused streams to flow from the rock
and made the water flow like rivers.
17 Yet they continued to sin against him
and rebelled against the Most High in the desert.
18 They willfully challenged God
by asking for food to satisfy their appetite.
19 They insulted God, saying,
“Is God really able to give us food in the wilderness?
20 Yes, he struck a rock and water flowed out;
streams gushed forth.
But can he also give us food?
Will he provide meat for his people?”
21 When the Lord heard this, he was furious.
A fire broke out against Jacob,
and his anger flared up against Israel,
22 because they did not have faith in God
and did not trust his ability to deliver them.
23 He gave a command to the clouds above
and opened the doors in the sky.
24 He rained down manna for them to eat;
he gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Man ate the food of the mighty ones.
He sent them more than enough to eat.
26 He brought the east wind through the sky
and by his strength led forth the south wind.
27 He rained down meat on them like dust,
birds as numerous as the sand on the seashores.
28 He caused them to fall right in the middle of their camp,
all around their homes.
29 They ate until they were beyond full;
he gave them what they desired.
30 They were not yet filled up;
their food was still in their mouths
31 when the anger of God flared up against them.
He killed some of the strongest of them;
he brought the young men of Israel to their knees.
32 Despite all this, they continued to sin,
and did not trust him to do amazing things.
33 So he caused them to die unsatisfied
and filled with terror.
34 When he struck them down, they sought his favor;
they turned back and longed for God.
35 They remembered that God was their protector
and that God Most High was their deliverer.
36 But they deceived him with their words
and lied to him.
37 They were not really committed to him,
and they were unfaithful to his covenant.
38 Yet he is compassionate.
He forgives sin and does not destroy.
He often holds back his anger
and does not stir up his fury.
39 He remembered that they were made of flesh
and were like a wind that blows past and does not return.
40 How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
and insulted him in the wastelands.
41 They again challenged God
and offended the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember what he had done,
how he delivered them from the enemy,
43 when he performed his awesome deeds in Egypt
and his acts of judgment in the region of Zoan.
44 He turned their rivers into blood,
and they could not drink from their streams.
45 He sent swarms of biting insects against them,
as well as frogs that overran their land.
46 He gave their crops to the grasshopper,
the fruit of their labor to the locust.
47 He destroyed their vines with hail
and their sycamore-fig trees with driving rain.
48 He rained hail down on their cattle
and hurled lightning bolts down on their livestock.
49 His raging anger lashed out against them.
He sent fury, rage, and trouble
as messengers who bring disaster.
50 He sent his anger in full force.
He did not spare them from death;
he handed their lives over to destruction.
51 He struck down all the firstborn in Egypt,
the firstfruits of their reproductive power in the tents of Ham.
52 Yet he brought out his people like sheep;
he led them through the wilderness like a flock.
53 He guided them safely along, and they were not afraid;
but the sea covered their enemies.
54 He brought them to the border of his holy land,
to this mountainous land that his right hand acquired.
55 He drove the nations out from before them;
he assigned them their tribal allotments
and allowed the tribes of Israel to settle down.
56 Yet they challenged and defied God Most High
and did not obey his commands.
57 They were unfaithful and acted as treacherously as their ancestors;
they were as unreliable as a malfunctioning bow.
58 They made him angry with their pagan shrines
and made him jealous with their idols.
59 God heard and was angry;
he completely rejected Israel.
60 He abandoned the sanctuary at Shiloh,
the tent where he lived among men.
61 He allowed the symbol of his strong presence to be captured;
he gave the symbol of his splendor into the hand of the enemy.
62 He delivered his people over to the sword
and was angry with his chosen nation.
63 Fire consumed their young men,
and their virgins remained unmarried.
64 Their priests fell by the sword,
but their widows did not weep.
65 But then the Lord awoke from his sleep;
he was like a warrior in a drunken rage.
66 He drove his enemies back;
he made them a permanent target for insults.
67 He rejected the tent of Joseph;
he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.
68 He chose the tribe of Judah
and Mount Zion, which he loves.
69 He made his sanctuary as enduring as the heavens above,
as secure as the earth, which he established permanently.
70 He chose David, his servant,
and took him from the sheepfolds.
71 He took him away from following the mother sheep,
and made him the shepherd of Jacob, his people,
and of Israel, his chosen nation.
72 David cared for them with pure motives;
he led them with skill.