Psalm 74 was written during a hard time for Israel. Once they were God’s holy and righteous nation, but slowly, in seemingly insignificant ways, a drift away from God had been taking place. A small compromise here, a little concession there and they drifted right into captivity. In verse 4 the psalmist said, “[The enemy] has set up their standards for signs. And in verse 9 he lamented, “We do not see our signs.” Israel could no longer see the signs – that is “the line of measure” – of the Lord. They were lost and confused, and easily drawn into captivity without them.
The Christian Church today – particularly in the West – has drifted dangerously away from the signs of truth. We have slowly and imperceptibly allowed the world to influence the church’s beliefs and standards. We have allowed the heart of the church to become cold to God, His Word, and His ways. We are repeating Israel’s folly and being taken captive by the world – and we don’t even realize it’s happening.
Lest we forget, the church is you and me. And if the church has been taken captive, it is because you and I have been taken captive. And if the church is to turn back to God, it will only happen when you and I turn away in repentance from worldly influences, deny ourselves the pleasures of sin, and seek God’s face in whole-hearted devotion.
Remember the lament of Asaph? Though the enemy had set up their wicked standards in the Temple, he knew where his salvation and his loyalty lay. In verse 12 he said, “But you, O God, are my King from of old, who works deeds of deliverance.” Asaph knew that only by keeping his heart devoted to God and to His ways and words, would he be delivered from the hands of the enemy. His deliverance is our deliverance too. Only through faith in and wholehearted devotion to Jesus Christ, who is “the same, yesterday and today and forever,” will His church, His people – you and I – be delivered.
I was reminded today of the power of encouragement – that is urging – even begging and pleading – believers to faithfulness. Beloved, with all my heart, I encourage you – return to the Lord, renew your faith, and fall in love with His Word. Walk in His holy ways. Be the one who turns the heart of the church back to God.,