DON’T YOU CARE, LORD?
Lord, I often get discouraged when I see the state of the world. Be my hope.
Read Psalm 79
A psalm of Asaph.
1 O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble.
2 They have left the dead bodies of your servants
as food for the birds of the sky,
the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild.
3 They have poured out blood like water
all around Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury the dead.
4 We are objects of contempt to our neighbors,
of scorn and derision to those around us.
5 How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever?
How long will your jealousy burn like fire?
6 Pour out your wrath on the nations
that do not acknowledge you,
on the kingdoms
that do not call on your name;
7 for they have devoured Jacob
and devastated his homeland.
8 Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;
may your mercy come quickly to meet us,
for we are in desperate need.
9 Help us, God our Savior,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins
for your name’s sake.
10 Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Before our eyes, make known among the nations
that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants.
11 May the groans of the prisoners come before you;
with your strong arm preserve those condemned to die.
12 Pay back into the laps of our neighbors seven times
the contempt they have hurled at you, Lord.
13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
will praise you forever;
from generation to generation
we will proclaim your praise.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you feel discouraged when the church or the Christian faith is ridiculed or attacked?
In the western world – though perhaps not in many South American and Asian countries where it’s growing – the Christian faith is often represented in the media as a spent force. Christians feel irrelevant and misunderstood.
The sense of siege mentality in this psalm of lament easily strikes a chord: “We’ve been attacked, abused… we’ve become a joke… so, where are you, God? Don’t you care about your reputation enough to defend us against those who are mistreating us?” Though some can identify with that sense of being under threat, the call for vengeance (6, 10) doesn’t, of course, sit easily with us today.
Yet there’s another theme in this psalm that links it with our Luke readings this week. The psalm writer is distraught over the desecration of the Temple, the destruction of the land, and urgently wants God’s honor restored and respected among unbelievers. We’ve seen how Jesus too is concerned for the reputation of God within the Temple and among those who say they are his. Do we feel similar distress when God is ridiculed and demeaned?
We as Christians may often feel on the defensive. How can you walk on the “offensive” in the spiritual world this week – reaching out after the lost and boldly sharing the love of Christ?
Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty… everything is yours (1 Chronicles 29:11).
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