Today in God’s Word
Numbers 30; Psalm 74
Asaph demonstrates wisdom in how he approaches the LORD with his petition. Centuries later Jesus would teach his disciples to pray (cf. Matt 6:9-15) with this focus:
- An upward and lofty focus
- Seek the hallowing of the name of God, our Father
- Seek the reigning of his kingdom
- Seek the effecting of his will over all other wills
- An inward and grounded focus
- Seek awareness of and celebrate dependence upon God as our provider
- Seek transformation of heart that we would love with a love like his
- Seek the putting off of sin and victory over the enemy of our souls
Jesus clearly indicated a focus on God and this is supported by other NT teaching on prayer (cf. John 14:13; 1 John 5:14; James 4:3). Notice the way Asaph presents his petition in Psalm 74…
- In verse 1 his heart is openly exposed from the beginning as he freely expresses his trouble and dependence in verse 1
- In verses 2-3 he frames his request to God based upon God’s own actions in the past and he is asking God to protect his own reputation
- In verses 4-11 he describes the current situation and illustrates the attack upon the glory, kingdom, and name of God that he sees around him
- In verses 12-17 he magnifies God and recites his glorious works and the power he wields over all his creation as if to establish his authority and reign in contrast to the visible situation that troubles Asaph
- In verses 18-23 he cries to God to act in accord to his revealed character and to regard his promises and to defend his purposes and his holy name
Consider how his prayer compares to the way Jesus taught us to pray and consider how we are accustomed to asking God for help in the midst of tough circumstances. Perhaps our focus is too self centered? Perhaps our interest is in our comfort or our own reputation rather than in the name and kingdom and will of God?
May we learn from Asaph and from Jesus and may we always petition God not in accord with our will and our understanding but according to the hallowing of his name and the reigning of his kingdom and the accomplishing of his will.
Soli Deo Gloria!