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Psalm 79

June 4, 2009

This psalm is in the form of a prayer, a prayer asking for deliverance from Israel’s enemies and asking the Lord to deliver Israel from their sin so that they may return to praising God. This psalm appears to be written during their exile to Babylon. In many ways it is also prophetic of the Great Tribulation. History seems to repeat itself. It also has overtones of happenings during Manasseh’s reign in Judah.

Israel is no more. The northern kingdom has been destroyed by Assyria. Now Judah is under attack. The temple articles have been plundered and the temple destroyed. Jerusalem’s walls are down. Many people are dead and others have been taken prisoner and exiled to Babylon. Israel has disappeared as a result of the Lord’s anger.

The psalmist requests that God’s anger be also poured out on the other nations who do not acknowledge God if for no other reason than they have attacked Israel. After all, some of Israel remains faithful. The psalmist continues by requesting forgiveness for those who led Israel astray and for God’s mercy on all. He entreats the Lord for help so that the Name of the Lord can be glorified once again.

The psalmist asks the Lord to hear the groans of the exiles and preserve them. He asks the Lord to judge their conquerors for their barbaric nature.

The psalmist concludes by promising to praise God forever because God heard their prayer and answered it.

We must be careful not to look at this psalm as “bargaining” with God. God is sovereign, righteous, and just. He hears our requests but not our demands. In this instance the other nations are as guilty as Israel of ignoring God. But God knows Israel will eventually acknowledge her sin and return to God because of His discipline. God will judge the others later. Now His interest is in preserving Israel for the same reasons the psalmist mentions, that His Name be praised.

God hates evil/sin whether it is found in His people or others. As such, God disciplines those He loves. God disciplines us as individuals too. Those who humble themselves before Him and seek forgiveness will be saved. Those who refuse to acknowledge Him will be destroyed. This is true for individuals and nations alike. Daily seek His guidance, ask forgiveness, and praise His Name.

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