Meditations on the Psalms #156

Day 156

Psalm 79

Ps79 is written after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. This event was so traumatic and important in the scope of Jewish history that it is described four times in the OT. This Asaph was from the school of musicians by that name. The conquering Babylonians came not just against the people of Judah, but into the land of Israel. (God’s inheritance). V2 reminds me of Revelation 19:17-18 where the reverse situation is described at the consummation of this world’s history.

In the midst of the catastrophe of the conquest of Judah and Jerusalem, Asaph asked the question that many sufferers among God’s people ask. ‘How long,’ does not question the why of suffering, but in faith asks the when of suffering, and if it will last forever. 
The psalmist’s faith stood the strain of disaster and is not dashed by a trace of doubt. Such times are the test and triumph of trust. The prayer would be answered in time. V6 and 7 are remarkably similar to Jer10:25. It’s possible that Jeremiah influenced the author of this psalm. 
 Speaking on behalf of the exiled survivors, (vs8-10) Asaph humbled himself before God and admitted their sin against Him. They could no longer deny their sin; instead, they could plead for forgiveness & ‘compassion’ (NASB) to come speedily’. The NLT of v8 has “we are on the brink of despair.” Have you not been there at some point in your life?

At the time of the Exodus, God had seen the affliction of his people and had heard their groaning’s (v11 cf Ex2:24; 6:5). The people in exile were not unlike those in Egypt. They too groaned for the moment of their deliverance. The ‘sevenfold’ is simply a way of saying abundantly or in great measure because the Babylonians dared to insult the God of Israel. Through the play and counter-play of human history, God is silently and patiently working out His will.

The author ended this psalm with grateful dependence and faith-filled anticipation. ‘Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,’ we have been taught to pray. ‘We will give You thanks forever: ‘ 

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