This Psalm, like the past one and all the ones now through 83, are in the context of Asaph. But it is clear from this Psalm that the author is bemoaning the fall of the Temple. The first time that the temple fell was in 587 and I wonder if somehow this psalm made it in the Psalter to reflect the agony and the pain of that experience. The details which are depicted make me think that it had to have been written by someone who was an eyewitness. Listen to the words that are used: smoke, emblems set up in the holy place, wooden trellis’ hacked with axes, all the carved work smashed with hatchets and hammers, the temple is lit up with fire.
In my mind this is no doubt an eyewitness account of the destruction of the temple which would have remained emblazoned upon the minds and the history of the Israelites as the attack on Pearl Harbor and 9-11 is emblazoned upon the minds of our nation and the Holocaust on the minds of the nation of Israel. As a response to this attack the author comments that there is no one who is able to speak a prophetic word as to how long the Lord will allow this to last (vs.9).
You see a transition in vs.12 where the author remembers the salvation of the Lord who is King. He remembers His Lordship and how He rules over all things including creation and the nations. We need to be reminded of this when we find ourselves in situations where it seems like things are spinning out of control. I find it interesting that the author refers back to the covenant that God has made with the people as a reminder of what is at stake. This is the same covenant that we see the people of Israel breaking time after time. It wouldn’t seem to me that God needs to be reminded of that covenant as much as we do.