Psalm 79:8 - 9 “Do not hold against us the sins of the fathers; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need. Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name's sake.”
This is a very disturbing psalm to read. To read of God’s people being slaughtered and the temple overrun is hard to understand. I am sure many will say how can this be a loving God. If I read this psalm alone I struggle with those same accusatory thoughts. What kind of God would allow this to happen? I’m pretty sure the psalmist was thinking this.
When catastrophe happens in the lives of God’s people it is natural to think this way. What did we do wrong God? Forgive us our sins and deliver us quickly. Forgive the sins of our fathers and have mercy on us.
In the midst of the situation we are not going to think rationally and calmly about the cause of such a devastating effect. There are times when judgment comes upon different groups. When it happens it is due to the lack of repentance by a group to the calls from God for them to turn back to Him. He sends prophets and messengers to call His people to return to Him. It is not a rash spur of the moment angry outburst with Him lashing out from heaven. When it happens, it is because He can no longer withhold His judgment.
Ezekiel 22:30 - 31 states: "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD." If there were someone willing to stand in the gap, He would extend mercy. But as He says in Ezekiel 22 I found none. Due to their lack of repentance, their lack of turning to Him, and no one to pray for them His hand was forced.
In the book of Judges over and over again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord. They would come under an oppressor until they cried out to the Lord. But when they cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a deliverer. He consistently showed mercy to His people when they called out to Him. Even at the end of the psalm the author is expecting vindication from the Lord as he called out to Him in prayer.
What does this mean for us thousands of years later? I think we can personally rely on God’s goodness and mercy to us. As believers we can stand in the gap for our nation and know with a certainty that He will extend mercy to our people. Let each one of us call upon His name for the nations of the world so that He will be merciful. Let us pray for believers and nonbelievers alike to turn in repentance to Him before it is too late.
Prayer: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:2-3)