This psalm forms a chiastic structure with an unusual messianic prophecy:
1a) Psa 74:1-8, Remember Your congregation + the defiles of the enemy;
1) Psa 74:1-2, Remember Your congregation and do not cast us off;
2) Psa 74:3-8, The enemy defiles and brings desolation to Your sanctuary;
1b) Psa 74:9-10, Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever;
1c) Psa 74:11, Take Your right hand out of Your bosom and destroy Your adversaries;
central axis) Psa 74:12, “For God is my King from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth;”
2c) Psa 74:13-17, You broke the head of the sea serpent in the waters;
2b) Psa 74:18, A foolish people has blasphemed Your name;
2a) Psa 74:19-23, Respect Your covenant + the reproach of Your enemies;
1) Psa 74:19-21, Respect the covenant and deliver Your people;
2) Psa 74:22-23, Remember the reproach of Your enemies.
In the C pair, the plea for God to take His right hand out of His bosom and destroy His adversaries, is paired with all the wonders God has done, but specifically I was drawn to, breaking the head of the sea serpent.
First, the right hand of God: I heard a Messianic rabbi once teach that the Messiah is the right hand of God. I think he was basing it on the Hebrew for “right hand,” but I had not started learning Hebrew then, it all was over my head, and I did not take notes. So I could be wrong. (Anyone out there who knows anything about this teaching, please send me an email or comment on this post!) But I have not forgotten his main point, of Messiah being the right hand of God.
So what does God do with His right hand? Break the head of the sea serpent. I immediately could not help but think of the first prophecy of Messiah, that when He comes, He will crush the head of the serpent (Gen 3:15). The psalmist mentions Leviathan by name in connection with the great sea serpent. That Leviathan is a great beast from the sea, just puts me in mind of Revelation, where a great beast rises out of the sea, empowered by the ancient serpent of old, Satan, who is the enemy of the saints and of the Lamb (Rev 13:1-2).
There is a description of Leviathan in Job 41, of a great beast with scaly armor that cannot be pierced, and even that he breathes fire! He sounds just like a fire- breathing dragon. Well, the dragon figures prominently in Revelation, who is the ancient serpent, and enemy of God (Rev 12).
Consider all this, then read:
In that day the Lord with His severe sword, great and strong,
Will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent,
Leviathan that twisted serpent;
And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea. Isa 27:1
These are some very strong thematic connections, which suggest that Messiah, the right hand of God, is He who will crush the great dragon, the twisted sea serpent, the beast rising from the midst of the sea who is the enemy of God and man (Rev 12-13). Amen!