PSALM 74—THE DESOLATION OF THE HOUSE OF GOD
Now we must go on from Psalm 73 to Psalm 74. In Psalm 73 we had the sufferings and deprivations of the saints themselves. In Psalm 74 we have the desolations not of the saints, but of God’s dwelling place. To so many God-seekers, their personal sufferings mean very little, but the desolation of God’s dwelling place affects them greatly. The Psalmist is troubled to a certain extent in Psalm 73 by his own personal affliction, but the desolate condition of the house of God in Psalm 74 troubles him more. By reading Psalm 74 we partake of the feeling of hurt suffered by the saints for the desolation of God’s house. The first part of this Psalm (vv. 1-11) records the Psalmist’s grief concerning the enemy’s work of destruction upon God’s house. The second part (vv. 12-23) is his cry for the recovery of God’s house.
Why does God allow the desolation to His house? The answer is not in this Psalm, nor in the following Psalm. We must go through the entire third book of the Psalms to obtain the answer. It is that Christ did not receive the proper appreciation and adequate exaltation. The saints appreciated the house of God, but to a certain extent they neglected Christ. They paid more attention to God’s house than to Christ Himself. Since Christ was not properly appreciated nor afforded pre-eminence among the saints, desolation was wrought.
Because of this desolation, the Psalmist prayed, “Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; the tribe of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt. Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary” (Psalm 74:2-3). For an extended period of time God allowed His house to lie in desolation. Verses 7 and 8 tell us: “They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground. They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the places of assembly of God in the land.” What desolation God allowed! Keep these verses in mind. They will help in understanding some of the following Psalms, for the following Psalms are the answer to this. God allowed such desolation in His house because the position due to Christ was surrendered. How careful we must be! The local church is wonderful and indeed glorious, but the enjoyment of the local church can only be maintained and preserved by Christ being properly appreciated and exalted among us. If we concentrate on the local church, but neglect Christ Himself, we are in danger of allowing God’s house to suffer desolation. Christ must have the proper position in the local church: He must have the pre-eminence. If He is not adequately appreciated and exalted, we will lose the enjoyment of God’s house. This is a warning lest after reaching the highest level of enjoyment in Book II, we lose this enjoyment and experience the desolation recorded in Book III. May the Lord be merciful to us that we may heed this warning and give Christ His due honor, appreciation, and exaltation.
PSALM 75—CHRIST JUDGING THE DESOLATERS
Psalm 75 apparently has nothing to do with Psalm 74, but it is in fact the answer to the saints in Psalm 74. In Psalm 74 the Psalmist was troubled by the desolation of God’s house and cried to God for remedy, for judgment upon the wicked one, the desolater of the house of God. The answer is in Psalm 75: Christ will come in to deal with the situation; He will come to judge the desolater. On the one hand the people of God have not properly appreciated and exalted God’s Anointed, but on the other hand the desolaters have gone too far; so Christ will intervene and judge. Christ says, “When I shall reach the set time, I will judge uprightly” (v. 2). In Psalm 74:10 the Psalmist asks, “O God, how long shall the adversary reproach?” The answer is in Psalm 75:2. When the set time arrives, Christ will judge. He has set up the pillars of the earth (v. 3). When the set time comes, He will exercise judgment on the earth for God.
In verses 4 through 6 Christ says, “I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn: lift not up your horn on high; speak not with a stiff neck. For lifting up cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.” From where then does the lifting up come? From God, from the north. By reading Ezekiel chapter one, we discover that God comes from the north. The north is upward, the south is downward. Whenever we go north, we go upward; whenever we go south, we go downward. God is not in the south, but in the north. Psalm 48:2 tells us that Mount Zion, the city of the great King, is on the sides of the north. Many places in the Bible indicate that God is in the north and comes from the north, the upper part. Lifting up comes not from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south, but from the north, because God is in the north.
Verse 7: “But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.” This is the answer to the Psalmist in Psalm 74. Christ will come in to deal with the desolation. He will make people know God’s rights and submit themselves to God’s rule.
I do believe that now, in the day in which we are living, the set time has been reached. The desolation of the church has continued long enough. So many dear saints in past generations have prayed, “How long, O Lord, how long? When will you come to judge?” Christ answers them in Psalm 75. He says that when the set time is reached, He will judge the desolaters. He speaks to the foolish ones and tells them that lifting up comes not from them, nor from any other direction, but from the One who is in the north, from God. He will declare His judgment and praise God (vv. 9-10), We must all claim in our prayers today, “Lord, you must come in now to deal with the desolaters, that the desolation of Thy church might be forever past.”
(Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)