The world news is full of accounts of violence in various places. Psalm 74 has some comparison to this. It was most likely written after the destruction of the Temple, for Asaph the Psalmist is lamenting, “the enemy has set your sanctuary on fire; they profaned the dwelling place of your name, bringing it down to the ground” (verse 7). He then laments this situation saying, “there is no longer any prophet and there is none among us who knows how long” (verse 9).
How long? Well, the situation is that “a foolish people reviles your name … for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence” (verses 18,20). This is like the world today; a psalm written today would be similar, except for the fact that although there is no longer any prophet, we all have access to the word of God and its visions, if we are inclined to read it. So we can ask from a particular perspective “how long” must this violent world continue?
The Psalm contains lessons for us, for the writer turns his thoughts to God! “Yet God is my King from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth” (verse 12). We remember how God worked deliverance in the days of Moses and David.
The last two verses are a prayer that can be ours today, “Arise, O God, defend your cause; remember (be mindful) how the foolish scoff at you all the day! Do not forget the clamour of your foes, the uproar of those who rise up against you, which goes up continually!”
To these words we add the concluding words of Psalm 9, “Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you! Put them in fear, O LORD! Let the nations know they are but men!”