Psalm 74: Lessons for Turning to God to Overcome Your Trials

Introduction: Here, the psalmist lamented when a pagan power burned God’s sanctuary (Ps. 74:7). For most commentators, this psalm refers to Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of the temple in 586 B.C. (2 Kgs. 25:9-10; 2 Chr. 36:17). This assumes that a descendant of Asaph wrote it because Asaph lived during the reigns of David (circa 1,000 to 962 B.C.) and Solomon (circa 962–922 B.C.). Others argue that this psalm references a different siege on God’s sanctuary. But it is not important to identify the exact siege. This psalm is important today because of the lessons it provides for believers to turn to God to overcome their trials. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12). When you face a trial, you can trust God because of His: (1) faithfulness, (2) fellowship, (3) guidance, (4) deliverance, (5) sovereignty, (6) redemption, and (7) answered prayers.

First, after a pagan army destroyed God’s holy sanctuary, the psalmist cried out for God to remember His Covenant promises to His people. When you face a trial, you can trust in God’s faithfulness. He will always keep His promises to you. Second, the psalmist lamented that a pagan army had burned God’s holy sanctuary to the ground. At that time, it meant a loss of God’s holy presence and fellowship. Thankfully, believers no longer need a temple to experience God’s fellowship. When you face a trial, you can give thanks that God offers His fellowship any time you seek Him through the Word, prayer, and the Holy Spirit. Third, the psalmist lamented that no prophets remained to guide and encourage the people. Thankfully, you no longer need a prophet to guide and encourage you. When you face a trial, God offers you guidance through His Word and through prayer any time you seek Him out. Fourth, the psalmist asked how long God would allow an enemy to mock Him and torment His people. He wanted God to deliver His people. When you face a trial, you can give thanks that God can deliver you when you turn to Him. Fifth, the psalmist praised God for crushing the heads of Leviathan, an ancient name for the devil. Even when evil appears to be prevailing during your trials, you can trust that God is fully in control. He has won the battle. Sixth, the psalmist cried out and asked for the “oppressed person” to “not return dishonored.” In addition to the loss of the temple, God’s people were sent into captivity. But God eventually redeemed them. During a trial, turn to God. He also offers you redemption. Finally, the psalmist concluded by urgently calling for God to act on his prayers. During a trial, God also wants you to cry out to Him for help. He hears your prayers. But He will respond according to His timing and His perfect plans for you.

1. Faithfulness: When You Face a Trial, Trust in God’s Faithfulness. Ps. 74:1-2.

  • The psalmist appealed to God to remember His Covenant after a siege of the temple. After a pagan army destroyed and burned God’s temple, the psalmist cried out for God’s discipline of His people to come to an end and for His Covenant to be restored: “An Appeal against the Devastation of the Land by the Enemy. A Maskil of Asaph.  1 God, why have You rejected us forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture? Remember Your congregation, which You purchased of old, which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance; and this Mount Zion, where You have dwelt.” (Ps. 74:1-2). The psalmist knew that a pagan power could only destroy the temple if God allowed it. But he also knew that God would still keep His promises.

  • God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to be the instrument of His discipline against the Jews. According to many commentators, Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of the temple is the most logical occasion for this psalm: “Three periods have been assigned for the composition of the psalm: (1) the time of the invasion of Shishak; (2) that of the Babylonian conquest; and (3) the early Maceabean period, or the reign of Judas Maccabaens. In favor of the first is the ascription of the psalm in the ‘title’ to Asaph. But all other considerations are against it. There is no evidence that Shishak ever entered Jerusalem. He certainly did not break down the carved work of the temple, or set the temple on fire, much less ‘cast it down to the ground.’ His invasion was a mere raid, and Rehoboam seems to have bought his retreat by the sacrifice of the temple treasury (2 Kings 14:25-282 Chronicles 12:2-12). The circumstances described in the psalm are also unsuitable to the reign of Judas Maccabaeus, in whose time the temple suffered desecration at the hands of the Syrians, but was not seriously damaged, much less demolished. Thus the only date suitable for the composition of the psalm is that immediately following the capture of the city under Nebuchadnezzar. We must explain the ‘title’ by the consideration that Asaph, like Jeduthun and Heman, became a tribe name, attaching to all the descendants of the original Asaph, . . . " (see Ezra 2:41Ezra 3:10Nehemiah 7:44Nehemiah 11:22).”1 But the exact occasion is not important. Each time an enemy desecrated God’s temple, God was faithful to keep His promises.

  • God must sometimes discipline His people to correct their ways. The psalmist lamented: “Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?” (Ps. 74:1). The psalms are filled with similar laments when God allowed His people to experience His discipline: “Yet You have rejected us and brought us to dishonor, and do not go out with our armies.” (Ps. 44:9). “God, You have rejected us. You have broken us; You have been angry; restore us! . . . Have You Yourself not rejected us, God? And will You not go out with our armies, God?” (Ps. 60:1b, 10). “Will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favorable again?” (Ps. 77:7). “How long, LORD? Will You be angry forever? Will Your jealousy burn like fire?” (Ps. 79:5). “LORD God of armies, how long will You be angry with the prayer of Your people?” (Ps. 80:4). “How long, LORD? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath burn like fire?” (Ps. 89:46). “God, have You Yourself not rejected us? And will You not go forth with our armies, God?” (Ps. 108:11). God’s discipline is always designed to correct wayward behavior. He only disciplines His people out of love to cause them to repent and turn back to Him.

  • God is faithful to remember His promises to His people. The psalmist pleaded with God: “Remember Your congregation, which You purchased of old, which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance; and this Mount Zion, where You have dwelt.” (Ps. 74:2). This referred to God’s promises to redeem His people: “Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the labors of the Egyptians, and I will rescue you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments.” (Ex. 6:6). “In Your faithfulness You have led the people whom You have redeemed; in Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.” (Ex. 15:13). “The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out from it.” (Acts 13:17). God is always faithful to keep His promises. Among His many promises, He promises not to leave or forsake His people: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you.”  (Dt. 31:6; Heb. 13:5). 

  • God also wants you to have the faith to pray over His promises. The psalmist was not seeking to remind God of something that He forgot. It was instead a sign of his faith that he could pray over God’s promises: “From such despair Asaph asked God to change His apparent attitude toward Israel. It seems clear that Asaph understood that God’s indifference and anger was more in appearance than in fact; otherwise, the following appeals would be of no use. · Asaph asked God to remember that Israel belonged to Him, and was His congregation. · Asaph asked God to remember that Israel was His purchased people, bought out of the slave market of the nations. · Asaph asked God to remember that Israel was His inheritance, His valued treasure. · Asaph asked God to remember that He had purchased and redeemed Israel, and that from times of old. · Asaph asked God to remember that He had dwelt among His people in Jerusalem (Mount Zion) in a special way. We sense that Asaph thought, ‘If God would only remember His special care and connection with Israel, He would rescue us.’ He therefore brought many reasons and appeals to God in prayer.” (David Guzik on Ps. 74).2 The next time you are in a trial, pray in faith over God’s promises to you.

2. Fellowship: When You Face a Trial, God Offers His Fellowship. Ps. 74:3-8.

  • The psalmist lamented the burning of the temple. Even though the psalmist understood that sin had caused God to remove His hand of protection, he lamented both the enemy’s destruction of the temple and the enemy’s boasts of superiority: “3 Step toward the irreparable ruins; the enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary. Your adversaries have roared in the midst of Your meeting place; they have set up their own signs as signs. It seems like one bringing up his axe into a forest of trees. And now they break down all its carved work with axe and hammers. They have burned Your sanctuary to the ground; they have defiled the dwelling place of Your name. They said in their heart, ‘Let’s completely subdue them.’ They have burned all the meeting places of God in the land.” (Ps. 74:3-8). The enemy’s desire to “completely subdue” (Ps. 74:8) the Jews most likely describes the time of the Jews’ exile. Likewise, Nebuchadnezzar’s army was the only pagan army to “burn” God’s “sanctuary to the ground” (Ps. 74:7).

  • The loss of the temple at that time meant the loss of God’s presence and fellowship. At that time, the Jews could only experience God’s Shekinah Glory through the tabernacle or temple (Ex. 13:21; 25:8; 34:5; 1 Kings. 6:13; 2 Chr. 5:13-14). But God’s glory eventually left Israel because of the people’s sins (Ezek. 10:18-19). Thankfully, you no longer need a temple to experience His glory and fellowship. His glory and fellowship are available through Jesus: “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Heb. 1:3). Thus, you have many reasons to give thanks.

  • Jesus calls you to be in fellowship with Him. God has also called all people to fellowship with Him through Jesus: “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9). When the Church of Laodicea accepted Jesus as its Lord and Savior but then failed to walk with Him, Jesus called them into fellowship with an offer to dine with them, a symbol of intimate friendship at that time: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev. 3:20). Jesus also desires that you seek out His fellowship.

Your Right Hand - Psalm 74 Sermon April Prayer Service

King Nebuchadnezzar’s army looted, destroyed and then burnt God’s temple3

  • God allowed Nebuchadnezzar’s army to burn the temple because of the Jews’ sins. Various Jewish kings desecrated God’s temple with pagan idols. Thus, to cleanse the temple, God allowed King Nebuchadnezzar’s army to loot it and burn it to the ground: “And he burned the house of the LORD, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every great house he burned with fire. And all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down the walls of Jerusalem all around.” (2 Kgs. 25:9-10; 2 Chr. 36:17). “Your holy people possessed Your sanctuary for a little while, our adversaries have trampled it down.” (Is. 63:18). “Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised You, has been burned by fire; and all our precious things have become a ruin.” (Is. 64:11). “We are ashamed because we have heard rebuke; disgrace has covered our faces, because strangers have entered the holy places of the LORD’S house.” (Jer. 51:51). “And he burned the house of the LORD, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every large house he burned with fire.” (Jer. 52:13). “A Psalm of Asaph. God, the nations have invaded Your inheritance; they have defiled Your holy temple; they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.” (Ps. 79:1).

  • God’s discipline included allowing His people to experience bondage. The psalmist complained about the enemy’s taunts over God’s people: ‘“Let’s completely subdue them.”’ (Ps. 74:8). The enemy of God will always seek to extinguish His peoples or place them into bondage: “My enemies speak evil against me, ‘When will he die, and his name perish?”’ (Ps. 41:5). “They make shrewd plans against Your people, and conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, ‘Come, and let’s wipe them out as a nation, so that the name of Israel will no longer be remembered.”’ (Ps. 83:3-4). Thankfully, you can turn to Jesus to free you from your bondage. He also offers you His fellowship and support to both break free and to stay free from a return to bondage.

3. Guidance: When You Face a Trial, God Offers You Guidance. Ps. 74:9.

  • The psalmist lamented the absence of any prophets. The psalmist further cried out that God had no prophets amongst His remaining people to encourage and guide them: “We do not see our signs; there is no longer any prophet, nor is there anyone among us who knows how long.” (Ps. 74:9). According to some, this describes when Antiochus pillaged the temple in 168 B.C.: “This was the constant lament of the Maccabaean period (1 Maccabees 4:461 Maccabees 9:271 Maccabees 14:41), and suits no earlier time--at least none into which the rest of the psalm would fit. During the exile period Jeremiah and Ezekiel were prophesying, and the complaint took quite a different form then and probably for some time afterwards (Lamentations 2:9Ezekiel 7:26).”4 But the psalmist may have simply meant that no prophets were left with him in the Promised Land after the destruction of the temple: “It has been said that this shows the psalm not to have been written on the occasion of the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, since Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel were, all of them, then living. But the writer only means to say that there are no prophets in Palestine, where he is residing. Jeremiah in Egypt, Ezekiel on the banks of Chebar, Daniel in Babylon, are nothing to him, even if he knows of their existence, and in no way fill up the gap whereof he complains.”5

  • Israel at times lived in darkness and without prophets. The psalmist lamented the absence of any prophets (Ps. 74:9). Israel experienced a similar darkness before God gave Samuel a prophetic gifting: “Now the boy Samuel was attending to the service of the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days; visions were infrequent.” (1 Sam. 3:1). The lack of a prophetic vision was one of the many signs of God’s judgment: “Disaster will come upon disaster and rumor will be added to rumor; then they will seek a vision from a prophet, but the Law will be lost from the priest, and counsel from the elders.” (Ezek. 7:26). “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is one who keeps the Law.” (Prov. 29:18).

  • Today, you can find guidance through Jesus, the Word, and prayer. Thankfully, believers are no longer dependent upon prophets to find guidance and encouragement. You can trust God’s Word to light your path and to guide your every step:  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  (Ps. 119:105; 2 Pet. 1:19).  When you read God’s Word and pray, the Holy Spirit can then speak to you:  “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”  (Jo. 14:16).  “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”  (Jo. 16:13).  Are you reading the Word and praying on a daily basis for God to guide you?

4. Deliverance: When You Face a Trial, God Can Deliver You. Ps. 74:10-11.

  • The psalmist called for God to avenge His name and judge His enemies. Even though God allowed His people to at times experience judgment, God is just. Thus, the psalmist called upon God to judge those who desecrated His holy temple: “10 How long, God, will the enemy taunt You? Shall the enemy treat Your name disrespectfully forever? 11 Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand? Extend it from Your chest and destroy them!” (Ps. 74:10-11). But believers must be patient for God’s perfect timing.

  • For those who are unsaved, the penalty for blasphemy is eternal death: The psalmist called upon God to punish those who blasphemed His holy name (Ps. 74:10). Under the Mosaic law, the penalty for blasphemy was death (Lev. 24:16). Thankfully, Jesus can forgive any blasphemous statements when you repent (Mk. 3:28).

  • Trust God to deliver you when you are in bondage. The psalmist urged God to avenge His name and to deliver His people (Ps. 74:11). Similar pleas exist throughout the psalms: “Destroy them in wrath, destroy them so that they will no longer exist; so that people may know that God rules in Jacob, to the ends of the earth. Selah” (Ps. 59:13). “And return to our neighbors seven times as much into their lap their taunts with which they have taunted You, Lord.” (Ps. 79:12). “Remember, Lord, the taunt against Your servants; how I carry in my heart the taunts of all the many peoples, with which Your enemies have taunted, LORD, with which they have taunted the footsteps of Your anointed.” (Ps. 89:50-51). Nehemiah also made a similar plea for God’s deliverance: “Hear, O our God, how we are an object of contempt! Return their taunting on their own heads, and turn them into plunder in a land of captivity.” (Neh. 4:4). “Will You restrain Yourself at these things, LORD? Will You keep silent and afflict us beyond measure?” (Is. 64:12). “May all their wickedness come before You; and deal with them just as You have dealt with me for all my wrongdoings. For my groans are many and my heart is faint.” (Lam. 1:22). If you are trapped in bondage or under attack, you can also turn to God to deliver you from evil. But you must be patient for His perfect timing.

5. Sovereignty: During a Trial, Trust That God is in Control. Ps. 74:12-17.

  • The psalmist praised God for defeating the devil. The devil influenced pagan armies to destroy the temple. But the psalmist knew that God is sovereign over the dragon Leviathan, aka the devil. God simply allowed the devil to act to bring His people to repentance: “12 Yet God is my King from long ago, who performs acts of salvation 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 created summer and winter.” (Ps. 74:12-17). In the King James Bible, the Aramaic Bible, the Brenton Septuagint translation, and the Berean Bible, the word “sea monsters” (Ps. 73:13) is translated as “dragons.”  God will ultimately defeat Satan.

Psalm 74 | A Nation in Trouble Prays | Upward Ever...

Jesus is King of Kings and sovereign over all evil6

  • The Bible reveals Leviathan to be our Accuser, the Dragon, or Satan.  In Hebrew, the name Leviathan means “twisting one”.  It referenced a mythical sea serpent (Job 26:12-13; Ps. 89:8l 104:26; Is. 27:1; 51:9).  The name is also associated with the devil as either the cursed serpent or dragon (Gen. 3:14; Rev. 12:9; 20:2, 10). In a moment of weakness, Job once called upon people who imposed curses to curse the day of his birth the same way that people would curse Leviathan (Job 3:7-8).  Job had also praised God for piercing the “fleeing serpent” “Rahab”, which means in Hebrew the “proud one”:  “With His power He quieted the sea, and by His understanding He shattered Rahab.  By His breath the heavens are cleared; His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent.”  (Job 26:12-13).  The psalmist also knew Leviathan.  “There is the sea, great and broad, in which are swarms without number, animals both small and great.  The ships move along there, and Leviathan, which You have formed to have fun in it.”  (Ps. 104:25-26).  Here, the psalmist spoke of how God would crush the “heads” of Leviathan, which suggests the image of a hydra (Ps. 74:13-14). Isaiah also revealed God’s defeat of the “dragon”, the serpent Leviathan during the end times:  “On that day the LORD will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, with His fierce and great and mighty sword, even Leviathan the twisted serpent; and He will kill the dragon who lives in the sea.”  (Is. 27:1). Isaiah would also refer to Satan as “Rahab”, the dragon:  “Awake, awake, put on strength, o arm of the LORD; awake as in the days of old, the generations of long ago.  Was it not You who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon?”  (Is. 51:9).  Satan is also first referred to in the Bible as the “cunning” “serpent” (Gen. 3:1).  At the end of the Bible, he is referred to as the seven-headed “dragon,” whom Jesus has defeated:  “And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads seven diadems. . . And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”  (Rev. 12:3, 9). In all of these accounts, the Bible reveals the good news of his ultimate defeat.

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Praise Jesus, the King of Kings, for His defeat over Satan7

  • God is also sovereign over evil. The psalmist praised God because He “divided the sea by Your strength;” (Ps. 74:13). Job also praised God’s power to trample the sea’s waves (Job 9:12).  The sea often symbolized the wicked people:  “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud.  ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’”  (Is. 57:20-21).  When the sea disappears in heaven, it symbolizes the disappearance of evil people  (Rev. 21:1). This symbolism is again meant to reinforce that God is sovereign over everything, including evil.

  • God is also sovereign over the devil.  The psalmist praised God because He “crushed the heads of Leviathan;” (Ps. 74:14). Job also praised God because He “pierced the fleeing serpent.”  (Job 26:13).  In the book of Revelation, Jesus is revealed to have defeated Satan, the serpent:  “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”  (Rev. 12:9).  “And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;”  (Rev. 20:2; Is. 51:9; Ps. 89:8-10).  Satan was once an anointed cherub on God’s holy mountain before his beauty caused him to desire to be lifted higher than God (Ezek. 28:13-17).  His beauty caused him to desire to be like God before God cast him out (Is. 14:12-15).  For his deceit of mankind, God cursed Satan with a prophecy that a future descendant of Adam and Eve - - the Messiah - - would ultimately crush him for his actions (Gen. 3:14-15).  To be connected to Adam and Eve’s seed, Jesus  was “born of a woman.”  (Gal. 4:4).  Through His death at the cross, He judged and defeated Satan. “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”  (Ro. 16:20).  Thus, you can praise Jesus for having defeated Satan.

  • Praise Jesus for having conquered death and the devil.  The serpent Satan desires to bring everyone down with him.  You can give thanks that Jesus not only defeated your enemy Satan but also death itself:  “The last enemy that will be abolished is death.”  (1 Cor. 15:26).  Because of His death, you can enjoy eternal life with Him in heaven.

6. Redemption: During a Trial, Turn to God for Redemption. Ps. 74:18-21.

  • The psalmist prayed that God would restore His oppressed and dishonored people. Most likely after thousands of people were taken into captivity, the psalmist cried out for God to remember His “oppressed” and “dishonored” people: “18 Remember this, Lord, that the enemy has taunted You, and a foolish people has treated Your name disrespectfully. 19 Do not give the soul of Your turtledove to the wild animal; do not forget the life of Your afflicted forever. 20 Consider the covenant; for the dark places of the land are full of the places of violence. 21 May the oppressed person not return dishonored; may the afflicted and the needy praise Your name.” (Ps. 74:18-21). The psalmist urged God not to leave His helpless people, like a “turtledove to the wild animal.” (Ps. 74:19). Thankfully, God does not forget His people during their times of need or oppression: “For the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever.” (Ps. 9:18).

  • Jesus also promises to redeem and restore what you have lost through sin.  The psalmist prayed for God to “remember” the “oppressed” and “dishonored’; (Ps. 74:18, 21). He also prayed for God to “consider the covenant. (Ps. 74:20). This referred to God’s covenant to all of Abraham’s descendants (Gen. 17:7). At that time, the people were in both physical and spiritual bondage. They were in need of redemption. As a result of original sin, mankind is condemned to die a physical death (Gen. 2:16-17), strained relationships (Gen. 3:15), and physical pain (Gen. 3:16-17).  But Jesus came to redeem mankind from the consequences of our sins: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—”  (Ro. 5:12).  Jesus came to restore all that mankind lost because of sin:  “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:21-22).  Through Jesus, you are both redeemed and a “new creation” in Him (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15).

7. Answered Prayers: During a Trial, Cry Out to God for Help. Ps. 74:22-23.

  • The psalmist cried out and urged God to answer his prayers. Because the suffering of God’s people was great, the psalmist urgently cried out for God to act without delay: “22 Arise, God, and plead Your own cause; remember how the foolish person taunts You all day long. 23 Do not forget the voice of Your adversaries, the uproar of those who rise against You, which ascends continually.” (Ps. 74:22-23). This part of the psalm might feel as though it lacks proper reverence. But God wants you to be authentic and cry out when you need freedom from bondage. He also wants you to cry out for others in need.

  • Have faith that God answers prayers.  As our example, the psalms are filled with examples where David thanked God in advance for answering his prayers:  “I was crying out to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah.”  (Ps. 3:4).  “I have called upon You, for You will answer me, God; incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.”  (Ps. 17:6).  “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears.”  (Ps. 18:6).  “For I wait for You, LORD; You will answer, Lord my God.”  (Ps. 38:15).  Are you thanking God for your answered prayers?

  • Jesus’ model prayer included a petition for deliverance.  You should never feel shy about crying out to God for deliverance from evil. In His model prayer for believers, Jesus also urged believers to include a daily request for deliverance:  ‘“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’”  (Matt. 6:13).  This is also His prayer for believers:  “I am not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them away from the evil one.”  (Jo. 17:15).  Are you praying for God’s daily protection?

  • Urgently pray for others in need of deliverance.  The psalmist urgently prayed for God to deliver His oppressed people. God also wants you to pray for others.  In response to Moses’ prayers, God repeatedly spared the Jews (e.g., Ex. 32:11-14; Nu. 14:18-22; 16:21-24).  The apostles also continually prayed for others (2 Tim. 1:3; Col. 1:9; Eph. 1:16; (1 Thess. 3:10).  You are part of Jesus’ holy priesthood  (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6).  As His appointed priest, you too have the power of intercessory prayer.  But it is unlikely to work if you lack faith.  “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, . . .”  (Jam. 1:6).  If you know someone who is under attack, are you praying for their deliverance?