Rocked to the Core
Lord, today I bring before You my hurts for healing, my sins for forgiveness, and Your desires to be made in Your love.
Read Psalm 79:1-13
A psalm of Asaph.
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“This psalm brings the great educational principle that punishment is seldom more than superficially effective. Asaph was so sorry for himself and his people that he did not really realize the greatness of the sin that made it necessary” (H. L. Ellison). A timely reminder!
This psalm was written just after the terrible events of 587 BC, when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, killed thousands, and carried away all but the poorest people into exile in Babylon (2 Kings 25). Its spiritual companion is therefore the book of Lamentations, also written out of the grief, anguish and perplexity that followed those awful events.
Sometimes life is like this! When disaster strikes, often one of the most difficult things is how to make sense of it in relation to what we believe about God’s care for us. There can be conflicting answers to that question, so that confusion is added to our grief and pain. How encouraging, therefore, that the Bible presents us with just this dilemma! For the author of Chronicles (2 Chron. 36:11-21), Jerusalem was destroyed because the people were totally sinful and rebellious. That idea is here, too (5), but the dominant thought in this psalm is different: the destruction was a terrible injustice against God’s “servants” (2,10), and God should act in judgment against those who carried it out (6,7) and against the neighboring nations who held God’s people and their God in contempt (4,12). There certainly is a remedy in the Lord’s mercy (8)–he is still “God our Savior” (9)! So he should act in vengeance (10), both because of the “desperate need” of those who are still “the sheep of your pasture” (8,13)–the prisoners languishing in Babylonian jails (11)–and also for the sake of his own “name” and “glory” (9,10).
This doesn’t contradict Chronicles; it’s just a different emphasis. The vital thing is that the pain and perplexity are poured out to God in honest prayer and trust. Even if God seems absent (“how long, Lord?” 5), the psalmist will still speak to him!
Have you ever gone through something that rocked your faith to the core–left you deeply questioning God’s love? Remember it, and analyze what helped you then.
Father God, I need Your light in the darkness that sometimes envelopes me. I ask for hope and trust in the face of despair.
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