Read: Psalm 74; John 10:7 – 16
Psalm 74:1 affirms that God’s people are “the sheep of His pasture.” Sheep are stupid, helpless, in need of protection and leading; sheep need a shepherd.
Think About It: What does the passage in John 10 say about how God deals with His sheep?
Prayer: Praise God that I have a good Shepherd who cares for me.
Read: Psalm 74:1; Exodus 32:7 – 11; 2 Chronicles 30:8, 36:16; John 3:36; Romans 1:18; Colossians 3:6; Revelation 19:15
God may be sorely angry at His sheep. Some people think the concept of God’s wrath is only an Old Testament concept; the New Testament passages in today’s readings are only some of many on God’s wrath under the New Covenant. Jesus Himself embodies that wrath in Revelation 19:15.
Think About It: Do we imagine that God has changed so that He no longer feels wrath? What makes God angry? Has the concept of God’s wrath been lost in modern Christianity? If so, why?
Prayer: That my life might please God; that I might be aware of the things that offend the Almighty, and avoid them with a will.
Read: Psalm 74:1; 2 Chronicles 7:12 – 15; Psalm 86:5
When God is angry, His sheep should inquire as to why. The assumption is that repentance will avert God’s wrath and produce an outpouring of mercy. That has always been God’s way with His people; it is the purpose of His wrath to purify and turn His sheep around.
Think About It: How do I know that God will forgive me if I repent of sin?
Is it ever too late to repent?
Prayer: Thank God for the assurance of forgiveness through Christ’s shed blood.
Read: Psalm 74:1 – 11
Psalm 74:2 – 11 deals with the oppression and persecution suffered by God’s people; but 74:1 begins with the assumption that this suffering came because of God’s wrath against the sin of His people. There are other reasons why suffering and persecution happen to God’s people, but when we suffer, we should seek to determine if we are enduring God’s discipline. If we are suffering because of sin, there is a remedy– repentance.
Think About It: What are some possible reasons, other than their own sin, why God’s sheep sometimes suffer persecution and oppression? Have I ever suffered discipline for some sin of my own? How did I respond?
Prayer: For grace to examine the reasons for personal suffering with honesty and a willingness to be convicted of sin and repent.
Read: Psalm 74:1; Jeremiah 47:6; Habbakuk 1:2; Zechariah 1:12; 1 Peter 4:12
When suffering, God’s people may have misgivings about God. They think, “Has He rejected us? Has He rejected us forever?”
Think About It: Have I felt rejected by God? What does the passage in 1 Peter 4:12 have to say about such feelings?
Prayer: For strength to face even the most fiery trials with endurance, patience, and faith.
Read: Psalm 74:1; Romans 8:31 – 39, 11:1 – 2; Psalm 77:7 – 8; Deuteronomy 4:31
God’s people may well cry out, “How long, O Lord?” when enduring fiery trials. Whether the source of trial is God’s wrath, or something else, Scripture affirms that God has not rejected His people; He has not rejected them forever.
Think About It: How would I answer the complaint of the author of Psalm 74? What perspective does the Gospel of Christ add to this complex question?
Prayer: Praise God that nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.
Read: Psalm 74:18 – 23; Exodus 16:7 – 8; 32:11 – 12; Matthew 21:22; John 16:24
God’s people should not murmur against Him. Following the example of Psalm 74 they should boldly petition Him. The psalmist petitions God on the basis of God’s glory and reputation, and on the basis of the covenant God has made with His people.
Think About It: What is the difference between murmuring against God, and petitioning God for redress? How is God’s reputation and glory affected by the oppression and suffering of His sheep? What covenant has God made with me that I can make the basis for requesting His help and deliverance?
Prayer: For boldness and importunity in prayer.