‘… there is no longer any prophet, and there is no one among us who knows how long.’ (Psalm 74:9 NRSV)
You may wonder what a psalm is doing in a series from the book Ezekiel, well I read this yesterday as I am working through the Psalms but haven’t read one for a while, and this fitted so perfectly with what I shared yesterday from Ezekiel so I though I would share too.
In this psalm Asaph asks how long Judah, Jerusalem and the temple will be laid waste and over-run by its enemies. He asks the questions, but there will be no answers. Why? Because there are no prophets left. Yesterday I looked at how God condemned the false prophets and prophetesses who were prophesying in Ezekiel’s day. God was against them and they would experience his wrath (see Ezekiel 13).
This psalm seems to have been written by an eye-witness of the destruction of Jerusalem that Ezekiel (among others) prophesied. God’s presence had left (see Ezekiel 10), so what had once been God’s land, city and temple were now over-run and ‘destroyed’ and ‘desecrated’ by foreigners.
All the prophets who had been left in Jerusalem and had been prophesying lies were now gone. God had fulfilled his word! But this meant that Asaph did not know how long this would last for, he was a priest, not a prophet, and there were now no prophets left for him to go to in order to seek God’s word!
We can see the effect this has on him, he is perplexed and confused, he can only cling on to what God has done in the past and ask God to act again for his people and against the enemy.
I have had times in my Christian life when I have had no answers. When I was became unwell just over 10 years ago, I was also confused and perplexed, I asked God questions, but got no answers. Through everything I held onto one thing, no matter how bad things got the Father was with me, whereas the Father had to turn his face away from Jesus when he was on the cross as a consequence of my sin. Jesus was forsaken by his Father, but I would never be, because of what Jesus had done for me. That was my only hope at times, but like Asaph it sustained me.
Heavenly Father, help me to be honest with you in prayer, like Asaph was. If all I have is questions then let me bring them to you. In dark times help me to cling onto, and praise you for, what you have done, and still be able to ask you to do it again in an uncertain future. In Jesus’ name, Amen.