Psalm 74:8
They said in their hearts, "We will crush them completely." They burned down every place where God met us in the land.
The Synagogue a Post-Exilian InstitutionPsalm 74:8
The Synagogues of GodJ. Aldis.Psalm 74:8
The Wail and Prayer of a True PatriotHomilistPsalm 74:1-23
Hell's CarnivalS. Conway Psalm 74:3-8
The Destructive Work of Man and the Constructive Work of GodC. Short Psalm 74:7-8, 12
The prayer in vers. 1, 2, to help the people sunk in the deepest misery, is followed by its basis or ground, which consists of a picture of this misery (vers. 3-9); the sanctuary is destroyed, and all traces of the presence of God among his people have disappeared. The short prayer in vers. 10, 11 seeks support and stay in the thought of the omnipotence of the God of Israel (vers. 12-17). The prayer is renewed at the close in an expanded form (Genesis 17:7, 8). It shows how the Church of God and individual believers are to conduct themselves in times when everything appears to be lost and to lie in ruins. The whole psalm may suggest two general points for consideration - the destructive work of man, and the constructive work of God.

I. THE DESTRUCTIVE WORK OF MAN. (Vers. 3-9.) The enemy had destroyed everything in the sanctuary, and burnt up the holy place itself. Look at some destructive work in our day.

1. The material tendencies of physical science. Leading to a denial of God and immortality, and striking at the foundation of morals by denying the freedom of man's nature. Ideas destructive, as well as conduct.

2. The critical spirit which is abroad. A spirit of denial, almost universally pulling down, and not building up. This and that not true - in history and creed.

3. The selfish spirit, wherever it rules, is destructive. In politics and commerce, and in our social relations - tending to antagonism and separation, and breaking all law - moral, Divine, and social.

4. The absence of true prophets - inspired men - is also a sign of the destructive process. (Ver. 9.) The true prophet is the constructor, and not the destroyer; the inspirer, and not the critic.


1. God's greatest work of old was redemptive. (Vers. 12-15.) "For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth." His work in Christ is reconstructive, building men up after the highest pattern. Christ came not to destroy, but to fulfil.

2. His work in the physical creation is constructive. (Vers. 16, 17.) He prepared the light and the sun, made summer and winter. The same mind ordained and continues the precious seasons as ordained the laws and works of redemption.

3. God's covenant is a covenant of salvation. (Ver. 20.) And the world is still in urgent need of redemption. "The dark places," etc.

4. The work of redemption is God's own - "his own cause. (Ver. 22). And therefore he will not abandon it. We can therefore pray as the psalmist did. - S.

They have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.
We do not know the precise circumstances under which this psalm was written. But we thank God our synagogues are not destroyed as were those of the Jews.


1. That they express one of the greatest marvels of Providence. They were to be the places where, and by means of which, the message of the Gospel was to be delivered. The Jews had synagogues everywhere, and thus God by His providence had prepared the field in which first the Gospel seed was sown.

2. They were intimately connected with our Lord's work.

3. And with the ministry of the apostles.

II. AT THE SYNAGOGUES OF GOD TO-DAY. The word means a coming together, and it expresses an essential idea of Christian worship. And they are synagogues of God. This the main thing. There God works and blesses souls. And think of them all, and of those especially in our own land. May God's power be manifested in them more and more.

(J. Aldis.)

Dr. Prideux affirms that the Jews had no synagogues before the Babylonish captivity; for the main service of the synagogue being the reading of the law unto the people, where there was no book of the law to be read, there certainly would be no synagogue. How rare the book of the law was through all Judaea before the captivity, many texts of Scripture tell us. Dr. Fairbairn, in support of the same view, says, "There is every reason to think that this psalm was composed during the Babylonish captivity, and was intended to describe the desolation which had been brought by the Chaldeans upon all the sacred spots of Palestine. The word for synagogue in the original, however, properly expresses the places of the revelation of God, and can refer only to the temple, that one place on which God had chosen to put His name."

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