The Apple of His Eye ... commentary of Psalm 74
The Apple of His Eye
… A commentary of Psalm 74
Psalm 74:8: “They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.”
Who are the they?
Back to verse three: It is the enemy! In verse four: Thine enemies. These are the enemies of God; making them our enemies.
“…in their hearts”
Genesis 6:5: “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Now, we come to this matter of the heart [the heart of man].
First and foremost, we cannot trust the heart of man. And why is this so?
Why … the heart is deceitful. And how do we know this to be true? We know this to be true because God told us so … through the prophet.
It is written in the book of the Prophet Jeremiah, chapter seventeen, verse nine:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” [Jeremiah 17:9]
Knowing this, we can move forward to establish this premise: Your heart is the center of you. My heart is the center of me. The heart you have is … YOU! Webster's 1828 Dictionary says:
The heart is the “seat of the will” and in it resides its “secret purposes” and its “intentions or designs.”
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” [Proverbs 23:7a]
Now, let's search out this matter of the heart!
In the book of the Proverbs 4:23, God gives us this command: KEEP IT!
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” [Proverbs 4:23]
This is our responsibility!
Now, in the book of the Judges, in chapter five, is the song of Deborah and Barak. There are [in verses fifteen and sixteen]: these references to the heart in the divisions of the tribe of Reuben:
“And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; even Issachar, and also Barak: he was sent on foot into the valley. For the divisions of Reuben there were great thoughts of heart.”
Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.” [Judges 5:15-16]
Though the heart be desperately wicked, it is capable of great thoughts.
Though the heart be desperately wicked, we must conduct a campaign of great searching within the heart but only with the help of God.
We have within us, as the believers in Jesus Christ in the body of Christ, the Holy Ghost:
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” [Romans 8:9]
· The Spirit of God … inside of us “helpeth with our infirmities” to have great thoughts!
· The Spirit of God … inside of us “helpeth with our infirmities” to have great searching’s!
We have this help today! It is the promise of God!
Now fasten unto this promise for yourself, which promise is located in the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, in chapter eight, verse twenty-six:
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” [Romans 8:26]
The infirmities [we need help with] are due to our heart.
It is only God that knows the heart.
“I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
It is God only who knows and understands the heart’s inner workings.
“Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man understand his own way?” [Proverbs 20:24]
[I am inditing in a good matter, I am thus, committing my words to writing]. [Psalm 45:1]
The heart is the highway for many things!
Now, consider this! It is “with the heart” that man [having been conditioned by repentance], believes the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the saving of his own soul.
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” [Romans 10:10]
The heart is deceitful, yet it is with the heart that he believes ... what God has said in His Book. Oh, how can this be true?
We need to learn, [in the Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter two, in verse nine], that the things of God will not enter into the old unregenerate heart of man.
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” [1 Corinthians 2:9]
Turn to the book of the prophet Ezekiel, chapter eighteen, verse thirty-one and also, to the first book of Samuel the prophet, chapter ten, verse nine. Let me quote them now:
Ezekiel 18:31: “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”
1 Samuel 10:9: “And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.”
Man needs “a new heart and a new spirit” [Ezekiel 18:31] or “another heart” [1 Samuel 10:9], and God can [and does] give you and I a new heart, and a new spirit, or another heart.
You might ask, why does God put so much emphasis on the heart in the Bible? It is for this reason: The “Lord looketh on the heart” so as to get the right take, or judgement, concerning the motives.
Look in the first book of Samuel the prophet, chapter sixteen, verse seven:
“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” [1 Samuel 16:7].
God in His judgments, wants to perform righteous judgment:
“But, O Lord of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart …” [Jeremiah 11:20].
Now, for reasons only found in GOD’s infinite MERCY and GREAT GRACE, God wants to give us a new heart and a new spirit, another heart, so that you and I may know HIM intimately. [See Jeremiah 24:7]
Verse eight again [in Psalm 74]: “They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.”
…the synagogues of God…
A synagogue refers to a congregation or assembly of people, or it could refer to a congregation’s meeting place: a building for the purpose of assembling together.
Note: There are the synagogues of Jews, and there are also, the synagogues of the Devil. The Devil has his following. The synagogues of Satan are made up with people who lie claiming to be Jews, and yet, are not true Jews. We might call them fake Jews! This is sad but true. The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ provides the following records of the existence of these synagogues of Satan [in chapter two and three]:
Revelation 2:9 “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.”
Revelation 3:9: “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.”
The word: synagogue appears forty-four times in the New Testament only.
The first mention of the plural form of the word: synagogues here, in verse eight, is the only time that it is found in the Old Testament. All the other instances of this word: synagogues appear in the New Testament twenty-three times.
It is important to note: At the time Asaph used this word given by the Spirit of God there were no synagogues in the land. They were an unknown commodity. Thus, we see here that God is prophesying through the psalmist of this future institution.
The synagogues of Jews were for the purpose of the assembly of the congregation to teach and to pray and they came into being after the destruction of the Temple of Solomon. This why the existence of the synagogues is shown to be so prominent in the New Testament.
There is something to note here. Jesus Christ spent much of his time in the synagogue where he had been brought up!
Luke 4:16: “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.”
Verse eight once again [in Psalm 74]: “They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.”
“…they have burned up all…”
Who burned up all the synagogues?
Now, since there were no synagogues in Israel in Asaph’s day [in B.C. 1040], the word: “They” in the text is a reference to the enemies [in the plural] present in a time somewhere in Asaph’s future.
Note: This prophecy in Psalm 74 is not pointing to any particular enemy [in the singular] as was Titus, the Roman general, who effected the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, along with the city’s synagogues. I am sure he destroyed many synagogues.
No, this prophetic event has not yet been fulfilled.
It is yet to be fulfilled!
What we have here in
Psalm 74 is a prophetic window opened
to us living here today in the 21st
century, and allows us to see into the future
time of the Great Tribulation when the
enemies of Israel [these being all the nations
of the earth] will be coming to destroy with fire
all “the synagogues of God in the land.”