Psalm 74

Talks for Growing Christians

An Enemy Ruins the Sanctuary and Defeats the Nation

Psalm 74

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Lesson Number 55

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Believers can call on God based on His past activities.
  2. Believers can call on God based on His present assurances.

Practical Application

  1. Make sure you’re in the right “rise up” company of Psalm 74!


  1. What type of psalm is Psalm 74?
  2. What is the problem with the dating of this psalm?
  3. Explain the meaning of the sea monsters and Leviathan in verses 13-14.
  4. On what basis did Asaph appeal to God in verse 20?
  5. What two groups do we see rising up in verses 22-23?


  1. This psalm is a maschil of Asaph, that is, a contemplative psalm of wisdom and insight along with instruction.
  2. Psalm 74 laments the destruction of the Temple. If the psalm was written by Asaph, a contemporary of David, there is a problem because there was no Temple in David’s day. The easiest solution is to realize that the Asaph who wrote this psalm in not the Asaph of David’s time but probably a descendant of his, who lived at the time of the Babylonian destructions of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
  3. The sea monsters and Leviathan are figurative for the Egyptian forces which ironically perished in the sea- their home environment. The victory went to the people who had escaped to the wilderness, that is, the Children of Israel.
  4. On the basis of the Abrahamic Covenant, God’s unconditional, ongoing covenant with His people. In Genesis 12 God promised He would preserve His people and bless those who blessed Israel and curse those who cursed Israel.
  5. In verse 22 there is a company of believers who call on God to rise up and defend His name, to put down the mockers and fools who do not honor God. In verse 23 there is the company of unbelievers who rise up and mock God; they rise against God.


  1. As Asaph called upon God based on what God had already done in history, so we can call on God based on what we know He has already done for us. What has God done in your past that shows His ongoing character? How does Romans 8:32 relate to this principle?
  2. Believers can call on God based on His present assurances. Discuss some of the promises God has made to you as a believer. These things are certain; God’s promises cannot fail. How can you base your prayers on these assurances? Use the following examples to get started: John 10:28, Romans 8:28, Romans 8:38-39, and Hebrews 13:5.


  1. Will you rise up against God or rise up in dependence on Him? This is a daily decision you must make.

Key Verses

  • “They said in their hearts, ‘Let us destroy them altogether.’ They have burned up all the meeting places of God in the land.” Psalm 74:8
  • “For God is my King from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.” Psalms 74:12

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