Psalms 74: How Long, God?
Psalms 74 must have been written during a difficult time. Listen to the first verse by itself.
Psa 74:1 Maschil of Asaph. O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture?
There is a definite sense of abandonment here, and you get the sense that bad things have been happening to the people of Israel. They feel like these bad things wouldn’t be happening if God was intervening. Let me give you a few more verses from later on in the chapter.
Psa 74:10 O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever?
Psa 74:11 Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? pluck it out of thy bosom.
Why is God allowing all of this sin and adversity to continue? Why doesn’t He end all of this evil?
Certainly, He has the power to do it. If God is all-powerful, He has power over evil. We also know that God hates evil, so you would think that God would want to get rid of it and would be motivated to remove it from existence. He is also acutely aware of evil; it is not as if He is living in some kind of bubble where He is simply not aware of all the bad things that happen here on earth.
We have come back to the problem of evil. This seems to be a favorite spot for people to attack. As Christians are need to be aware of these kinds of issues. We certainly don’t need to deny that there is evil in the world, and we just as strongly don’t need to deny the existence of God.
Like the psalmist is saying, there are things that are bad about the world, and we all might wonder why God doesn’t intervene if He does have all of those characteristics that I have claimed previously. He has the ability, motivation and knowledge to eliminate sin right now, but there is some reason He chooses not to.
However, even if we don’t understand everything, if we can provide reasonable evidence that God exists and evil exists, then it follows that it is not logically impossible for them both to coexist. If they can both exist, we don’t necessarily need to understand why God is motivated to allow sin. If both of these are true, then the conclusion that a good God could not allow evil is demonstrably false as shown by both of those statements being simultaneously true.
I have outlined this approach in more detail on another page if you want to check it out. The problem of evil is a difficult one, and even in this Psalm, you can see that it is hard to understand why God allows evil to continue existing even though it has caused so much trouble in the world. However, the problem of evil does not necessitate that we give up believing in God.