A Monument Removed, But At Least...
Maschil of Asaph.
1O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? Why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture? 2Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; The rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; This mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt. 3Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; Even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary. 4Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; They set up their ensigns for signs. 5A man was famous according as he had lifted up Axes upon the thick trees. 6But now they break down the carved work thereof At once with axes and hammers.
I am grouchy this morning and not just because I had to pry my carcass out of the crypt I call a bed.
I am upset at news concerning my local government. They have chosen to whitewash history and remove more monuments. Rather than use these memorials as great conversation starters, opportunities to celebrate the good qualities of people from our past and to learn from their successes and mistakes, they will erase them and the lessons they should teach. “But Bald Believer, their presence upsets some people”, you might say. I say, “Good!” Sometimes anger is good! God gave us this emotion for a reason. Righteous indignation can ignite positive change. We need to be upset sometimes and a reminder that it happened is not a bad thing. Enough with my rant.
What made me apply this passage to today’s local news?
Psalm 74 was written shortly after the destruction of the temple in 586 B.C. The Psalmist appears to have been an eyewitness to the ruin of this magnificent structure.
As he watched them bring down this monument to the God of Israel he said,
Psalm 74:5–6 5 A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees. 6 But now they break down the carved work thereof at once with axes and hammers.
He laments how men were once made famous for cutting down trees to build this structure but now they celebrate those breaking it down.
The destruction of the Temple brought the Psalmist to ask a question
Psalm 74:1 O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? Why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture?
Of course, we understand that God had not cast his people away forever or at all. His people were certainly being chastened for their disobedience, but his watchful eye and tender care would never leave them. A parent may appear to be unloving to a disciplined child but that does not make it true. Correction, if done properly, is evidence of love. God had not cast his people away.
So, have you felt forsaken? Do you feel that God has cast you away forever? Perhaps you have something more than a mere monument removed from your life?
Lost your job?
A broken home?
A death of someone you love?
For the Psalmist, it was a national symbol of the presence of God but for you it may be something more personal. It was ok for him to talk to the Lord and it is for you? He may not give you answers but he will give his presence.
I know that I have written it many times before but one of my favorite verses needs repeating.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
There is a greater symbol of the love and care of God's people than the temple the psalmist saw destroyed, the cross and the Son of God. He showed us that he is our temple, our meeting place with the God of the universe and that can never be taken away.
In short, I guess my morning thought is that while the monuments from our past may be going away, our God, he remains!