Crying for Help is the title of this Psalm written by Asaph who was a singer, a professional musician in the appointed company of singers selected for temple worship. He is obviously a leader of music/worship as here he is the author of an important song during the time after the destruction of "all the synagogues of God in the land", which occurred during the fierce persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes III in second century before Christ.
This horrendous event in the history of Israel runs parallel with the final and most devastating persecution by the Antichrist at the end of the age as recorded by the Lord in Matthew 24:15,21,22: "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth , let him understand...For then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And, except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elects sake, those days shall be shortened."
Bible scholars of every eschatological persuasion recognize the parallels and types set forth by this Syrian king during his attempt to destroy the Jewish people and their covenant based faith in the God of the Hebrew Scriptures. His desecration of the temple is recorded historically in Daniel 11:31, and prophetically referred to in three other places in his prophecy: 8:11, 9:27, 12:11 pointing to the Antichrist's defilement of the temple during the end of the age. (II Thessalonians 2:4)
This Maschil, or song of instruction, contains 13 requests to God for help, and 5 questions directed to God in an attempt to discern the reasons for this intense affliction upon the people of God. This instruction will be invaluable for those who will go through this very persecution at the end of the age when the Antichrist will be empowered by Satan and the murder/martyrdom of the saints will be common.
Therefore, the information gleaned from this song of instruction is vital and necessary for those who are experiencing persecution now, and those who will undergo the last and most intense assault on God's people ever in the history of mankind.
This future time in history is referred to in the 5 questions asked by Asaph: "O GOD, why hast Thou cast us off for ever? Why doth Thine anger smoke against the sheep of Thy pasture?...O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? Shall the enemy blaspheme Thy name forever? Why withdrawest Thou Thy hand, even Thy right hand?"
During that day it will look like, to the people of God, that He has indeed "cast us off" due to unrelenting successful efforts of the Antichrist as he persecutes and kills the saints. During that day the people of God will ask: "Why doth Thine anger smoke against the sheep of Thy pasture?" Because they will recognize that all events in the life of a child of God are filtered through the hand of our loving Lord. During that day the people of God will recognize that 'the adversary' the Devil himself is in charge of all this calamity. During that day the people of God will recognize that the blasphemy of the enemy as he make his boasts and self exalting claims against God. During that day it will seem like the right hand of God, noted for his might and great power to defeat the enemies of God's people in the past, has been withdrawn, and there is no help from heaven.
Yes, during that day the saints will be asking these same questions in the midst of the most vicious and powerful assault ever on the people of the living God. But, Asaph did not stop with just these negative questions which seem to put God Himself and His sovereign actions to the test. No, after asking these questions he makes a series of faith-building statements concerning the person and work of God.
And, here is where we need to dwell in time of deep affliction when it seems that all is lost and God has withdrawn His presence and power from our lives. His first declaration: "For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth" affirms the position of Jehovah as King, the Ruler, the one who Reigns over the affairs of earth by bringing salvation, or deliverance, to His people "in the midst of the earth".
Jesus is LORD, rejoice regardless is the answer in times of great distress, no matter what the circumstance or situation. We must remember He is King, the King of kings and LORD of lords, He is my Light and Salvation, I will not fear what man can do unto me. If persecution, we must realize that Jesus paid it all, He was persecuted beyond our own ability to realize. If suffering, we must rejoice knowing that we are counted worthy to suffer for His name. If martyrdom, then we enter in glory...Amen?
While we but skimmed the surface of this song of instruction, the bottom line and formula for success remains: "Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the Cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such affliction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." (Hebrews 12:2,3)
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