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. Psalm 74:7-9
Asaph writes this following the destruction of the temple, the focus of their worship of God. It was hard for him to understand why God would allow the devastation of something so central to their worship. He expresses his grief by reminding God that it was “your sanctuary” and “the dwelling place of your name.”
Asaph’s prayer is, “Remember the nation you purchased long ago, the people of your inheritance, whom you redeemed—Mount Zion, where you dwelt” (verse 2). It feels like he’s saying, “Where were you, God, when this was happening? Why didn’t you intervene and save your people?” Many times God doesn’t rescue us from crushing circumstances but rather offers us his enabling grace in the difficulties.
You can hear Asaph’s despair in the words, “None of us knows how long this will be.” Yet in this, there’s a glimmer of hope. While they don’t know how long they will suffer, there’s an assumption that one day things will be different. There’s hope that God won’t abandon them forever.
God did eventually return his people to their land but in the process, they learnt that you can worship God without a temple and a sacrificial system. You can continue to trust God without prophets to remind you. You can continue to believe when all the evidence is against you. When nothing is left you still have God and he is enough.
Always have hope.