Today, Sunday July 30
“We Have Become a Reproach…”
Psalm 79:1-4 A Psalm of Asaph.
“O God, the nations have come into Your inheritance; Your holy temple they have defiled; They have laid Jerusalem in heaps. The dead bodies of Your servants They have given as food for the birds of the heavens, The flesh of Your saints to the beasts of the earth. Their blood they have shed like water all around Jerusalem, And there was no one to bury them. We have become a reproach to our neighbors, A scorn and derision to those who are around us.”
Psalm 79 is the eighth of a dozen Asaph Psalms. From the titles given to many of the Psalms we know a man by the name of Asaph wrote them. We need to remember though, that there was more than one man named Asaph. I personally believe that at least three different men named Asaph wrote these Psalms. The first one was a musician that King David appointed to lead the worship in the tabernacle in Jerusalem. Another one was probably a descendant of the first Asaph who lived in the time of Isaiah the Prophet and King Hezekiah, who wrote his Psalms during the Assyrian invasion.
The Asaph who wrote Psalm 79 most likely lived in the time of Jeremiah the prophet when the Babylonians captured the city of Jerusalem and destroyed it. His Psalm is a cry of anguish and despair as he surveys the terrible destruction of the temple and massacre of thousands of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Prophetically, of course, the Psalm anticipates the coming of the Antichrist and his desecration of the temple.
Personally, I just finish reading the Old Testament books of Jeremiah and Lamentations in the New Living Translation. If you want to get a full and complete picture of the history behind this Psalm, I would encourage you to also read these books and you will feel the anguish of both the prophet and Asaph in this Psalm. You can also read the historical accounts of this judgment of God on the nation of Israel in 2 Kings 22-25 and 2 Chronicles 34-36.
In the first four verses of this Psalm, we hear Asaph mourn as he views and experiences the judgment of God upon Jerusalem and the nation of Israel for their disobedience. The land was God's inheritance (Ex. 15:17), and He shared it with the people of Israel who were His inheritance (28:9; 33:12; Deut. 4:20). They could live in the land and enjoy its blessings as long as they obeyed the covenant (Lev. 26; Deut. 28-30), but repeated rebellion would only bring painful discipline to them, including expulsion from the land (Lev. 26:33-39; Deut. 28:64-68).
Babylon was the leading nation in the conquest of Judah, but the neighboring nations (Ammon, Moab, Edom) were delighted to see the Jews defeated (vv. 4, 12; see Psalm 44:13, 80:6; 137:7; Ezek. 25). God had said they would be defeated before their enemies (v. 1; Deut. 28:25) and the dead bodies left unburied, a terrible disgrace for a Jew (v. 2; Deut. 28:26; Lev. 26:30; and see Jer. 7:33; 8:2; 9:22). Her cities would be destroyed (v. 1; Deut. 28:52) and Israel would be reproached by her neighbors (vv. 4, 12; Deut. 28:37). Note how Asaph identified the Lord with the situation: "your inheritance... your holy temple... your servants... your name."
My friend, it appears that America and many nations of the world have gone down this same path of forgetting God and living in disobedience and rebellion to His Word and His principles. First, we watched as the Lord began to withhold His blessings because of our sins. But now He has begun to pour out His judgments on us as we see the corruption, chaos, confusion, violence, hatred, and wars all around us.
I believe this is all setting up for the rapture of the church and the seven-year tribulation period of God’s wrath being released on the earth. How should we respond to all this? Like Jeremiah and Asaph, our hearts should be broken, and we should still set our hope in the Lord and His promises of redemption! We should live faithful lives in obedience to the Lord and His Word like Noah did before the judgment of the Flood. We should be sharing the Good News of God’s mercy and grace for those who will repent and believe.
These are desperate days of crisis that call us to weep and mourn and turn to the Lord for his mercy like Jeremiah did in Lamentations 3:21-26: “This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD.”