Read Psalm 74
Focus on verse 9
Being able to see where we are going is something we typically take for granted until we unexpectedly lose the ability to do so. I can remember the feeling many years ago when I had to drive thirty miles in a howling Canadian blizzard to a small rural town. It was late evening and already dark which made visibility even more difficult. At one point, in a more remote section of the road, I became so disoriented that
I had to stop the car and began to brush the snow off the road with my boots to find the centerline of the highway in order to determine if I was still traveling parallel to the road. The snow had drifted over the road and filled the ditches making it nearly impossible to see anything but snowdrifts. I knew that if I happened to drive off the road I would be stuck until someone found me in the morning, and that prospect was not very appealing. I did eventually arrive at the hospital where my wife worked and if I recall I believe we ended up spending the night there and returning home the next morning in daylight.
What comes back to me as I consider the topic of today’s post is that uncomfortable burst of adrenaline that I felt when I suddenly realized I had no idea whether I was parallel or perpendicular to the road, and more seriously that I was pretty much utterly alone in the dark in the midst of a storm that could kill me if I panicked.
In today’s reading the psalmist is describing a nation that has lost its way. Apparently the enemy has already invaded and conquered (v. 7) and what is worse is they have lost sight of where they are to go:
We do not see our signs;
There is no longer any prophet,
And there is none among us who knows how long.” (v. 9)
When a person loses their sight there is hope as long as they have someone who can see to lead them. If a person who has lost their ability to see has no one to help them they become vulnerable to those who would seek to take advantage of them. How would they know if someone was stealing their goods? How would they defend themselves if someone sought to do them bodily harm?
When a nation loses its sight, it likewise becomes vulnerable to those who would seek to take advantage of its people. When dishonest and unscrupulous people rise to power, the people of the nation suffer. It is a pattern that has repeated itself with predictable regularity throughout recorded history. Unfortunately for the people of America, it appears to be repeating itself once again. As dismal as that may sound, all is not lost.
Though Israel was conquered and subjected to captivity, the psalmist writes words of hope and encouragement:
Yet God my King is from of old,
Working salvation in the midst of the earth. (v. 12)
He goes on to list the mighty acts of God in the past, and encourages us with words that assure us that despite the evil we may have to face, God has not lost control. Rather He is still in the midst of His people, and those who seek Him can readily find and experience His grace.