Tuesday, February 14, 2023

2023.02.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 79

Read Psalm 79

Questions from the Scripture text: Who wrote this Psalm (superscript)? Whom does this Psalm address (Psalm 79:1a)? Who has come where? What have they defiled (verse 1b)? What else have they done (verse 1c)? What have they done to the people (Psalm 79:2-3)? What has become of the people as a whole (Psalm 79:4)? What does Psalm 79:5 ask? Whom do they ask God to punish instead (Psalm 79:6)? What have these nations done (Psalm 79:7)? What does Psalm 79:8a recognize about the cause for this? To what hope does verse 8b cling? How does one appeal to such a merciful God (verse 8c)? For what do they ask Him to save (Psalm 79:9a–b)? For what do they ask Him to deliver and atone (Psalm 79:9c–d)? To what do they desire to put a stop (Psalm 79:10)? What do they have good hope that He cares about (Psalm 79:11)? What do they ask Him to do instead (Psalm 79:12)? What two ways do they refer to themselves in Psalm 79:13a? What will they do (verse 13b)? For how long? What else will they do (verse 13c)? For how long?

How does love for God’s glory respond, when God’s church is in ruins? Psalm 79 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that love for God’s glory desires for His church to be revived and avenged so that it may thank and praise him forever. 

Love for God’s glory agonizes at the church’s ruinationPsalm 79:1-4. The church is in ruins. God’s church is in ruins. “Your inheritance” (Psalm 79:1a). “Your holy temple” (verse 1b). “Your servants” (Psalm 79:2a). “Your saints” (verse 2c). This has been done with desecration (Psalm 79:1), brutality (Psalm 79:2), disregard (Psalm 79:3), and spite (Psalm 79:4). The moral condition of the church that led to this is worthy of indignation. But she is still God’s church. And a love for His glory agonizes over her ruin—even when she richly deserves it. Let us grieve over the low state of the church in our day, and whenever/wherever she is brought low for her sin and error.

Love for God’s glory pleads for the church’s revivingPsalm 79:5-9. God’s enemies can do nothing to His church, except that He ordain it for good. But sometimes, it is clear that the church’s ruin comes as an act of chastening. This is one of the cases. So, what does the psalmist plead? For forgiveness and atonement, so that His people might come out from under chastening. 

Despite the church’s sin, she is not like the wicked who know not God; the psalmist is able to plead knowing the Lord and calling upon His Name (Psalm 79:6). It is the knowledge of God that makes the difference. He is a God of tender mercies (Psalm 79:8b), salvation (Psalm 79:9a), and deliverance (verse 9c). He saves for the glory of His Name (verse 9b) and His Name’s sake (verse 9d). Let us desire the honor of His Name in the display of His atoning, reviving mercy upon His people.

Love for God’s glory appeals for the church’s avengingPsalm 79:10-12. Just as God is glorified in His people by saving them, so also God is glorified over His enemies by repaying them. He displays His glory by avenging His people (Psalm 79:10c–d). He displays His glory by returning sevenfold into their bosom what His enemies have done to His people (Psalm 79:12). Do we love God’s glory? Let us desire the vindication of His Name in pouring out justice upon His enemies.

Love for God’s glory looks forward to everlasting fellowship, thanksgiving, and praisePsalm 79:13. Finally, we must remember that God has an end for which He has set His people apart to Himself: not merely that they would be forgiven of sin, retrieved from error, and revived. The Lord has taken for Himself a people as the flock for whom He tenderly cares (verse 13a) in order that they may give Him thanks and praise. This is the forever-purpose for them (verse 13b–c). Let us desire to be revived and avenged, not for our own sakes, but for the glory of His Name, and for the privilege of giving Him thanks and praise forever!

In what ways is the church brought low by her enemies in your day? For what offenses against God and His holiness might He have done this? What ought you to be praying for and pursuing as His church? What should you desire for His enemies? When do you get to preview your forever-destiny? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise You for Your holiness that is far above all creatures. You have consecrated for Yourself a people for Your worship. You have turned Your anger from us and forgiven us. Your tender mercies have come speedily to us, O God of our salvation. You delivered us and atoned for our sins. Long after You have repaid Your enemies, Your own grace will have brought us into glorious perfection, where we will be Your people and the sheep of Your pasture, giving You thanks forever, and giving You praise to all generations. Grant us now the help of Your Spirit, that we might today enjoy some of that eternal blessedness, giving You thanks and praise through Jesus Christ, in Whom we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP79A “O God, To Your Inheritance” or TPH79A “God, the Nations Have Invaded”

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