Lord, Lift Up Your Feet!
Lift up Your feet to the perpetual desolations.
The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary.
Years ago on a family ski trip my little brother fell and tore the ligaments in his right knee. It was a nasty fall and a nasty injury. When it happened, he let out a cry heard all across the slopes. My father, who had reached the bottom of the hill where we were skiing, heard it too, and instantly turned and headed back up. I can still see my dad, lifting up his skis, climbing the hill as fast as he could. I can still hear his voice, too: “Hold on son, I’m coming!”
That memorable event supplies a powerful picture of our redemption, as does the text before us. Psalm 74 is the cry of one of God’s children, pleading for help because the enemies of the nation have entered the land and are laying waste to God’s inheritance. All is in desolation. The people are under a severe discipline from the Lord, against whom they have sinned. Like my brother so many years ago, they are down for the count. The psalmist knows this: They’ll never get up again unless God lifts up his feet and races to their aid.
And so it is in the matter of our redemption. Though many cannot see it, the truth is that all the children of Adam are down for the count. Long ago their mortal enemy invaded Eden, and their earthly father yielded to his seductive lies. When he did, all was ruined.
God intended that man should be his sanctuary, his chosen place of residence. But after Adam’s sin, the holy God could not possibly live there, and indeed must judge the sanctuary site. Thus did the human race became a perpetual desolation, a haunt for jackals, hyenas, and every kind of foul and detestable bird.
“For from within,” said Jesus, “out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:20-23).
What a desolation was wrought in Eden! Would that only our ligaments were twisted and torn, and not the very fabric of our being! Man, by nature, is now detached, defiled, and dead in trespasses and sins. And unless the Lord lifts up his feet and runs to him, he will stay that way.
But thanks be to God, he has and he does. And what a lifting up of the feet it is! Who could ever have imagined that he would rescue his people in this astonishing way? How does he do it? He cries out to his dear ones, “I’m coming children!” —and he sends his only-begotten Son to their rescue.
Yes, it is in the Son of God that the Father lifts up is feet, runs into the world as a man, races to the cross, hurries back to heaven, swiftly receives the Spirit, hastily sends him into the world, and as fast as he possibly can rushes into the hearts of his injured sons and daughters.
Strange children, these: They do not even want to be rescued. But their Father loves them nonetheless, comes to them, whispers to them, touches them, and opens their eyes to see their wound, to see their Dad, and to cry out to him for help.
Such a Dad! Such a love! Such a lifting up of the feet! Such a mighty expulsion of all enemies! Such a total rebuilding of the sanctuary!
And such a joy that fills that sanctuary, both now and forevermore.