O God, why have you rejected us forever?
Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember the nation you purchased long ago,
the people of your inheritance, whom you redeemed —
Mount Zion, where you dwelt.
Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins,
all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary.
Your foes roared in the place where you met with us;
they set up their standards as signs.
They behaved like men wielding axes
to cut through a thicket of trees.
They smashed all the carved paneling
with their axes and hatchets.
They burned your sanctuary to the ground;
they defiled the dwelling place of your Name.
They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!”
They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land.
We are given no signs from God;
no prophets are left,
and none of us knows how long this will be.
How long will the enemy mock you, God?
Will the foe revile your name forever?
Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?
Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!
But God is my King from long ago;
he brings salvation on the earth.
It was you who split open the sea by your power;
you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.
It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan
and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert.
It was you who opened up springs and streams;
you dried up the ever-flowing rivers.
The day is yours, and yours also the night;
you established the sun and moon.
It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
you made both summer and winter.
Remember how the enemy has mocked you, LORD,
how foolish people have reviled your name.
Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts;
do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.
Have regard for your covenant,
because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.
Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace;
may the poor and needy praise your name.
Rise up, O God, and defend your cause;
remember how fools mock you all day long.
Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries,
the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.
Every day, we hear about the destruction of Christian places of worship around the world by those who don’t know God and many of us despair. Let us take hope from this psalm, where Asaph describes the devastation of the sanctuary. Asaph recounts the enemy's attack on the temple, symbolizing the destruction and desolation of their spiritual center. This calamity was not just a physical assault but also a blow to their faith and identity as God's chosen people.
The destruction of the temple in the Old Testament finds a parallel in the New Testament with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Just as the temple was a focal point of worship and divine presence in the Old Testament, Jesus himself became the new temple in the New Testament. At one time, Jesus said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. (John 2:19,21–21).
The destruction of the physical temple described in this psalm can be seen as a foreshadowing of the temporary defeat of Jesus on the cross. And a response to the psalmist's plea for intervention and restoration can be seen in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through his death and resurrection, not only does Jesus becomes the new temple, but he also brings about the restoration and redemption of God's people.
We can find much encouragement in this psalm, knowing that even in times of devastation and apparent defeat, God is still in control. Let us trust in God's faithfulness and intervention as the psalmist did and place our hope in the resurrected Christ, who brings restoration and new life.
God bless you.