Sunday, March 20, 2011

Psalm 79

Avenge the Defilement of Jerusalem

This psalm of Asaph most probably refers to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.  It is set to the same tune as the lamentations of the weeping prophet Jeremiah, and Jeremiah himself borrows 2 verses from it:  verses 6 & 7.

Whatever the occasion for the writing of this psalm, we can know this:
  • Psalm 79 is a representation of the very deplorable condition of God’s people
  • It is a petition to God for succor and relief, that their sins might be pardoned and that God would look upon them again with favor
Because of the sins of His people, God has allowed the enemies of Israel to lay waste Jerusalem and the Temple of God. 
Throughout our Psalms study, we have seen the phrase” for Your name’s sake” repeated.  Sake” means “for the reason of” or “because of.”  What does David continue to use that plea?

Remember when God first told His name to Moses?  In Exodus 3:14, He said:
And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.  And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, “I AM sent me to you.”
My Bible makes this note: 

YHWH is a form of the verb ‘to be.’ The significance of this name is ‘the present One, He who is.”
Matthew Henry comments this:
YHWH signifies that He is self-existent, He has His being of Himself.  Being self-existent, He cannot but be self-sufficient, and therefore all sufficient, and the inexhaustible fountain of being and bliss.

Kenneth Hancock has noted the meaning of this phrase in the Psalms verses below:
For Your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity for it is great.”  ~ Ps. 25:11
cries David in Psalm 25:11.  I am a sinner, he is saying, and my sin is great- so for Your name’s sake, because the meaning of Your very name declares that You, Yah, are the Savior and do save, I ask You to save me from this wretched state that I am in.

Every time the phrase “for thy name’s sake” is used, the people of Yahweh are fervently longing for a great salvation.  We saw another example is in Psalm 31:3-4. 
My enemies, David is saying, are about to catch me in a net, but You are the Savior, and You can save me and deliver me out of the net and snare they have set for me.  So, please save me because of Your name’s meaning, for Your name’s sakeThis process is “calling upon the name of Yahweh”—what some would refer to as “calling on the name of the LORD.” 

For Your name’s sake lead me, and guide me.  Pull me out of the net that they have secretly laid for me, for You are my strength.  ~ Ps. 31:3-4

In Psalm 79:9 the psalmist comes right out and says that it is sin that the Savior will take away because of God’s name and what it means. 
     Thank You, Father, that You poured Your wrath out on the cross so that I am saved.  What can wash away my sin - nothing but the blood of Jesus!  How I praise You for that sacrifice of Yourself, and thank You for opening my eyes to my need for a Savior.
     Lord, even in Your judgment, You are a loving God.  May I learn to embrace the chastisement of God, using it to turn to holy living and a pursuit of righteousness.  How I bless You for Your tender mercies that come speedily to meet me.
     Thank You, O Great Shepherd of the sheep, that You have made me one of Your flock.  I will give You thanks forever.  May I show forth Your praise to my children, and the generations to follow.  In Jesus' name I pray ~ Amen
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.  ~ Ps. 79:9 
There it is.  Because of the very meaning of Your name, because Your name declares that You are the Savior and because of the glory of Your name in that You alone do save, take away our sins. 

The phrase "for Your name's sake" also indicates a defense of God’s “reputation.”  The world knew that Israel was His land, His people.  For them to be taken captive and Jerusalem & God’s temple destroyed gave the nations cause to mock Israel’s God and His ability to save them.  
Why should the nations say, ‘where is their God?’  ~ Ps. 79:10
The proud and oppressive Babylonians delight to add to the sorrows of the exiles by reproaching the name of their God, and by saying that He was unable to defend them and their city from ruin.
So we, Your people and the sheep of Your pasture,
Will give You thanks forever;
We will show forth Your praise to all generations.
 ~ Ps. 79:13
  • God judges sin . . . and He forgives sin
  • He is a God of wrath
  • God's mercies are tender towards His people
  • God’s power is great
  • God is our Shepherd
  • God will be praised
  • I praise God that He is as loving as He is just
  • I praise God that His judgment is perfect
  • I praise God that He is long-suffering even in His judgment
  • I praise God that I am a sheep of His flock

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