Psalm 74:20
Consider Your covenant, for haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.
The Church's Duty to the HeathenJohn Hambleton, M. A.Psalm 74:20
The Covenant PleadedPsalm 74:20
The Divine Covenant Steadfast and SurePsalm 74:20
The Wail and Prayer of a True PatriotHomilistPsalm 74:1-23

The four seasons, it has been well said, are God's four evangelists of the natural world. The sternness of winter; the hopefulness of spring; the richness of summer; the bounty of autumn; - each season has its own message from God to our souls. Note -

I. THE NATURAL SUMMER. This is what is referred to in our text: the psalmist appeals to it as a plea for God's much-needed help. His infinite power, which had made summer and winter, and had been manifested in so many marvellous ways, was able to help Israel in their great distress, and their trust was that he would.

1. Israel had to maintain stoutly the truth that God made all things. A whole mob of idol gods was put forward and worshipped by the heathen as the authors and creators of the powers of nature.

2. And our missionaries to the heathen have to maintain the same truth of God the Creator of all. It is by no means universally or generally believed even yet.

3. And in our day and in our own land, professedly Christian as it is, we may not slacken our testimony to this truth. It is not that we have to contend with rival gods, as Israel had, and the missionary still has, but the existence of any God at all is either openly questioned or flatly denied. It is not polytheism, but atheism, that confronts and opposes the Christian advocate today and here at home. Natural law is everything; as if a law could do anything without an executive to put it in force. The ancient Greeks were pantheists, but our men of science have, too many of them, sunk down to a lower depth than that. The Greek saw gods everywhere and in all things; we see God nowhere. Shall we give in to this proud yet miserable atheism? God forbid! Let us still maintain with the psalmist, "Thou hast made summer." As we look round on all the rich glories of the season, let us confess, with our great Puritan poet -

"These are thy works, Parent of good," etc.

II. THE SUMMER OF GOD'S PROVIDENCE. How many are enjoying this! God's daily gifts of life, health, and joy are lavished upon them. They bask in the sunshine of his love. Everything bids them rejoice. But forget not the Giver of your joy - him who made the summer. That holy memory will be to you like the string attached to the child's kite, which is soaring away up in the blue heavens to the child's exuberant delight. But let that string be broken which now steadies and sustains, it, not hindering but aiding it in its upward way through the sunlit air, and then you know that at once it will come tumbling ignominiously to the ground. So if we let ourselves forget our God, and we be in thought and affection separated from him, then our poor joy, like that child's kite, will soon fall to the ground, and our gladness will soon be at an end. It is the remembrance," Thou hast made summer," which does not hinder but help our joy, steadying and sustaining it as did that cord the child's toy. Let us not forget this. And we would bid you remember God, because, else, the summer of God's providence, like the natural summer, is apt to breed many forms of evil life, like those many creeping, noisome, and miserably destructive insects, etc., which the summer sun calls forth, and which in our fields and gardens we are ever seeking to be rid of. How full the Bible is of records of the ill that the summer of God's providence has occasioned to many unwatchful and God-forgetting souls! Remember, too, that such seasons let that live which is not really strong, and which the first frost of winter will speedily kill. So is it easy, when no trial or persecution arises because of Christ, to appear as if we were really his. But when they do arise, what then?


1. This may be in us - is so when the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. It is very delightful; is independent of every other summer; comes by degrees; is the result of conflict; unlike the natural summer, it never ends, though it may be interrupted. And:

2. It is above us, waiting for us in the future world. There is the "land of pure delight." The lovely scenes of earth are reminders of it. It is the true, real, most blessed, because unending, summer of the soul. - S.C.

Have respect unto the covenant.
It is the covenant of grace, not of works, that we are to plead.


1. Fulfil thy covenant: let it not be a dead letter.

2. Fulfil all its promises.

3. Let nothing hinder or turn them aside.


1. From the veracity of God.

2. His jealousy for His honour.

3. The venerable character of She covenant.

4. Its solemn endorsement, God's Word.

5. Its seal — the blood of Christ.

6. Nothing in it has ever failed.

7. The testimony of God's dying people.


1. Under a sense of sin.

2. Labouring after holiness.

3. When under strong temptation.

4. Or in great distress.


1. Have a grateful respect for the covenant to which you pray the Lord to have respect.

2. Have joy in it.

3. Be jealous for it.

4. Practically respect it.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Rutherford says that unbelief may tear the copies of the covenant of grace given us, but Christ keeps the original in heaven with Himself. Though we believe not, yet He remaineth faithful. He cannot deny Himself.

The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty
The world wants the Gospel; the Gospel alone meets the world's necessities.

I. THE WORLD'S NEED OF GOD. "The dark places," etc.

1. How dark a system is idolatry: see its sin, and misery, and cruelty.

II. GOD'S PROVISION FOR THE WORLD. The covenant tells of the Gospel with all its abundant provisions. It brings light; it implants love. Christ is offered as food for the hungry, pardon for the guilty, consolation for the mourner, life for the dead.


1. God Himself must apply it. But —

2. We must pray for the heathen; pray in public and at home.

3. And we must send messengers to the heathen who shall tell them of Christ.

(John Hambleton, M. A.)

Asaph, Psalmist
Acts, Attentively, Consider, Covenant, Cruel, Cruelty, Dark, Dwellings, Fill, Full, Habitations, Haunts, Honor, Mind, Places, Pride, Regard, Respect, Undertaking, Violence
1. The prophet complains of the desolation of the sanctuary
10. He moves God to help in consideration of his power
18. Of his reproachful enemies, or his children and of his covenant.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Psalm 74:20

     5828   danger
     5975   violence

Psalm 74:1-23

     6115   blame

Psalm 74:18-23

     8610   prayer, asking God

The Meaning
Of the Red Dragon with Seven Heads fighting with Michael about the new-born Child. The first vision of the little book, of which we treated in the eleventh chapter, ran through the whole Apocalyptical course, from the beginning to the end, and that, as we elsewhere observed, to point out its connexion with the seals and trumpets. Now to that vision the remaining prophecies of the same interval, and of the affairs of the Church are to be accommodated, in order to complete the system of the little
Joseph Mede—A Key to the Apocalypse

The Prophet of the Highest.
(LUKE I.) "Ye hermits blest, ye holy maids, The nearest heaven on earth, Who talk with God in shadowy glades, Free from rude care and mirth; To whom some viewless Teacher brings The secret love of rural things, The moral of each fleeting cloud and gale, The whispers from above, that haunt the twilight vale." KEBLE. Formative Influences--A Historical Parallel--The Burning of the Vanities--"Sent from God" "Thou, child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Most High"--thus Zacharias addressed his infant
F. B. Meyer—John the Baptist

How those are to be Admonished who Abstain not from the Sins which they Bewail, and those Who, Abstaining from Them, Bewail them Not.
(Admonition 31.) Differently to be admonished are those who lament their transgressions, and yet forsake them not, and those who forsake them, and yet lament them not. For those who lament their transgressions and yet forsake them not are to be admonished to learn to consider anxiously that they cleanse themselves in vain by their weeping, if they wickedly defile themselves in their living, seeing that the end for which they wash themselves in tears is that, when clean, they may return to filth.
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

The Wisdom of God
The next attribute is God's wisdom, which is one of the brightest beams of the Godhead. He is wise in heart.' Job 9:9. The heart is the seat of wisdom. Cor in Hebraeo sumitur pro judicio. Pineda. Among the Hebrews, the heart is put for wisdom.' Let men of understanding tell me:' Job 34:44: in the Hebrew, Let men of heart tell me.' God is wise in heart, that is, he is most wise. God only is wise; he solely and wholly possesses all wisdom; therefore he is called, the only wise God.' I Tim 1:17. All
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Balaam's Prophecy. (Numb. xxiv. 17-19. )
Carried by the Spirit into the far distant future, Balaam sees here how a star goeth out of Jacob and a sceptre riseth out of Israel, and how this sceptre smiteth Moab, by whose enmity the Seer had been brought from a distant region for the destruction of Israel. And not Moab only shall be smitten, but its southern neighbour, Edom, too shall be subdued, whose hatred against Israel had already been prefigured in its ancestor, and had now begun to display Itself; and In general, all the enemies of
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Synagogues: their Origin, Structure and Outward Arrangements
It was a beautiful saying of Rabbi Jochanan (Jer. Ber. v. 1), that he who prays in his house surrounds and fortifies it, so to speak, with a wall of iron. Nevertheless, it seems immediately contradicted by what follows. For it is explained that this only holds good where a man is alone, but that where there is a community prayer should be offered in the synagogue. We can readily understand how, after the destruction of the Temple, and the cessation of its symbolical worship, the excessive value attached
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

Jesus Makes a Preaching Tour through Galilee.
^A Matt. IV. 23-25; ^B Mark I. 35-39; ^C Luke IV. 42-44. ^b 35 And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose up went out [i. e., from the house of Simon Peter], and departed into a desert place, and there prayed. [Though Palestine was densely populated, its people were all gathered into towns, so that it was usually easy to find solitude outside the city limits. A ravine near Capernaum, called the Vale of Doves, would afford such solitude. Jesus taught (Matt. vi. 6) and practiced solitary
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Sun Rising Upon a Dark World
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon then hath the light shined. C ontrasts are suited to illustrate and strengthen the impression of each other. The happiness of those, who by faith in MESSIAH, are brought into a state of peace, liberty, and comfort, is greatly enhanced and heightened by the consideration of that previous state of misery in which they once lived, and of the greater misery to which they were justly exposed.
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

The Justice of God
The next attribute is God's justice. All God's attributes are identical, and are the same with his essence. Though he has several attributes whereby he is made known to us, yet he has but one essence. A cedar tree may have several branches, yet it is but one cedar. So there are several attributes of God whereby we conceive of him, but only one entire essence. Well, then, concerning God's justice. Deut 32:4. Just and right is he.' Job 37:23. Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The piety of the Old Testament Church is reflected with more clearness and variety in the Psalter than in any other book of the Old Testament. It constitutes the response of the Church to the divine demands of prophecy, and, in a less degree, of law; or, rather, it expresses those emotions and aspirations of the universal heart which lie deeper than any formal demand. It is the speech of the soul face to face with God. Its words are as simple and unaffected as human words can be, for it is the genius
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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