This psalm is a prayer for God to rise up and deliver Israel from her enemies who mock God and desecrate Israel's holy places. It will be answered by Jesus at the second coming.
This psalm laments the desecration of Mount Zion and other holy sites by Israel's enemies, and their mocking of Israel's God. Mount Zion is the site where the first and second temples were located, and is normally identified with the Temple Mount, as it is known today. The psalmist remembers God's miracles of old, and petitions God to rise up and defend the cause of Israel against her enemies.

The destruction of the temple as described in verses 4 to 8 may describe the destruction of the first temple by the Babylonians in 586 BC, and prophetically may also describe the destruction of the second temple by the Romans in AD 70. However, this psalm may also be understood to prophetically describe the modern-day desecration of the Temple Mount and other holy sites in Israel by the Palestinians.

The prayer in verse 22 that God will rise up to defend his cause will be fulfilled at the second coming of Jesus. As in Psalm 2, God will defeat and silence his enemies who mock and rage against him.
Places: Jerusalem, Israel, Mount Zion, Temple Mount
Tags: Desecration of holy sites, Enemies mock the God of Israel, Jesus delivers Israel
1 A well-written song by Asaph. Why, O God, have you permanently rejected us? Why does your anger burn against the sheep of your pasture?
2 Remember your people whom you acquired in ancient times, whom you rescued so they could be your very own nation, as well as Mount Zion, where you dwell!
3 Hurry to the permanent ruins, and to all the damage the enemy has done to the temple!
4 Your enemies roar in the middle of your sanctuary; they set up their battle flags.
5 They invade like lumberjacks swinging their axes in a thick forest.
6 And now they are tearing down all its engravings with axes and crowbars.
7 They set your sanctuary on fire; they desecrate your dwelling place by knocking it to the ground.
8 They say to themselves, “We will oppress all of them.” They burn down all the places where people worship God in the land.
9 We do not see any signs of God’s presence; there are no longer any prophets and we have no one to tell us how long this will last.
10 How long, O God, will the adversary hurl insults? Will the enemy blaspheme your name forever?
11 Why do you remain inactive? Intervene and destroy him!
12 But God has been my king from ancient times, performing acts of deliverance on the earth.
13 You destroyed the sea by your strength; you shattered the heads of the sea monster in the water.
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you fed him to the people who live along the coast.
15 You broke open the spring and the stream; you dried up perpetually flowing rivers.
16 You established the cycle of day and night; you put the moon and sun in place.
17 You set up all the boundaries of the earth; you created the cycle of summer and winter.
18 Remember how the enemy hurls insults, O Lord, and how a foolish nation blasphemes your name!
19 Do not hand the life of your dove over to a wild animal! Do not continue to disregard the lives of your oppressed people!
20 Remember your covenant promises, for the dark regions of the earth are full of places where violence rules.
21 Do not let the afflicted be turned back in shame! Let the oppressed and poor praise your name!
22 Rise up, O God! Defend your honor! Remember how fools insult you all day long!
23 Do not disregard what your enemies say, or the unceasing shouts of those who defy you.