No End in Sight 

O God, why have You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture? Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, the tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed—this Mount Zion where You have dwelt. Lift up Your feet to the perpetual desolations. The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary. Your enemies roar in the midst of Your meeting place; they set up their banners for signs. They seem like men who lift up axes among thick trees. And now they break down its carved work, all at once, with axes and hammers. They have set fire to Your sanctuary; they have defiled the dwelling place of Your name to the ground. They have said in their hearts, “Let us destroy them altogether.” They have burned up all the meeting places of God in the land. We do not see our signs; there is no longer any prophet; nor is there any among us who knows how long. O God, how long will the adversary reproach? Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever? —Psalm 74:1-10

If you look closely at this passage, which may sound like Asaph is complaining and lacking in faith, you’ll see something much deeper. Asaph is agonizing in prayer to the only One who can possibly help them, asking God to do what God does: defend His Word and His people.

As the church, collectively, we may feel like Asaph did, wondering, “How long is the enemy going to prevail, Lord? They’re burning churches and killing Christians all over the world. They’re destroying Christian businesses and threatening the church in the United States with prosecution for believing Your Word. Lord, aren’t we the sheep of Your pasture and Your congregation, Your purchased possession? Then why has the enemy damaged everything in Your sanctuary and infiltrated Your meeting place? They have raised their own banners over Your house, and ours have been torn down.” 

No matter what the history of this psalm is, Asaph is setting the example of what we ourselves should be doing as we see the persecution of the church growing: he knew that God truly hears and answers our prayers, and he is going to the One who alone can help. And this is why we can say that we have “Battlefield Supremacy.” There is one God, one Lord, one Ruler overall. Baal never existed. There is no Allah. They are nonexistent. And although “Allah” is the name of “a god,” the true God never inspired the Qu’ran, because it conflicts with the Word that God had given to His prophets centuries before the Qu’ran even came to be. And we can trust God’s Word and know that He hears our prayers for help. I can’t tell you why God doesn’t send fire from heaven to consume the murderous cults in the world today, other than the fact that He is not willing that any should perish, and perhaps some of them will be saved. 

Even though Asaph was in an extreme situation of distress and trouble, He did the right thing by turning to the Lord with his fears, and so must we. God hears our prayers even when we’re in dire straits and feel like we’re all alone. Unlike the false gods of other religions, our God is real. He is loving and kind and caring, and he elevates women instead of denigrating them, as is the norm in places like Saudi Arabia. He loves the little children, and woe to those who would do them any harm! He is the one true and living God, and those who hate Him and hate us will not prevail in end. No matter how long we may have to endure our trials, God is with us, and our God is an awesome God! He is the one true and living God and our enemies will not prevail in the world. Take heart. The end is in sight.

Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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