A devotion on Psalm 79
Psalm 79 reads like a dismal modern-day news cast. While it is tempting for our attention to glaze over and get the 13 verses over with, let us take pause and immerse ourselves, albeit from a distance, into the pain and despondence recorded there. So many in the world today find themselves in this exact plight. Expose your heart to just a little of the heat that they are feeling.
1 O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple, they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble.
2 They have left the dead bodies of your servants as food for the birds of the sky,
the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild.
3 They have poured out blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there is no one to bury the dead.
When I think of Haiti, Afghanistan, wild-fire and flood-torn Europe, and numerous covid-crippled countries the world over, I envision funeral systems so overwhelmed that some have buckled. So many people are dying that is not unusual to have bodies lying around in streets and hospitals with no one to tend to them. O, the things we take for granted.
4 We are objects of contempt to our neighbors, of scorn and derision to those around us.
5 How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire?
6 Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you,
on the kingdoms that do not call on your name;
7 for they have devoured Jacob and devastated his homeland.
In some ways we are seeing the wrath of God upon a world gone crazy. I am not saying God is punishing anyone through all the devastation going on today. I am saying that we are seeing a world that is a far cry from God’s original design for man at the garden of Eden. We are seeing the power of God unleashed in nature with earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and fires. We are seeing unchecked disease spreading like wildfires and bringing the world and its systems to its knees.
We are seeing ideological landscapes change just as drastically as people clash due to differing points of view on various matters. We are seeing vicious fights among families and friends and devastating church splits.
8 Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;
may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.
9 Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.
Heaven knows our own sins are heavy enough without the added burden of those of past generations. It is no secret that sins accumulate and propagate. By dint of exposure to them physically and spiritually, they are easily transmitted to the next generation. That is why the family and its breakdown is important to Satan. It’s the perfect system to subvert God’s will. Break that down and you expose humans to an onslaught of demonic attack that cements sin in the hearts of men, women, and children. A lot of the damage its resulting bondage that occurs in our lives was perpetrated in family life. Undealt with, that damage dominates our lives and further sets us up for more sin. It is a frightening cycle to observe.
Fortunately for us, there is freedom in the blood and power of Jesus to break the yoke of the worthless ways passed on by our ancestors. We have been delivered from the ‘have to’ of ancestral sins. Who the Son sets free is free indeed! Hallelujah! At some point, to continue to walk in ancestral sin the Christian is no longer a victim, he is a volunteer. Holy Spirit desires freedom and victory for you from every yoke the enemy has strapped over your shoulders.
10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
Before our eyes, make known among the nations that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants.
11 May the groans of the prisoners come before you; with your strong arm preserve those condemned to die.
12 Pay back into the laps of our neighbors seven times the contempt they have hurled at you, Lord.
13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you forever;
from generation to generation we will proclaim your praise.
No pretense is made in this psalm as to the people’s innocence. They are guilty as charged and this punishment is well deserved. Likewise, we do not deserve mercy from God. Any goodness we experience from him is purely grace-based. We have seen the importance of consistently and plainly speaking of his goodness and power to the next generation. Part of that is taking care of the sin in our lives so we are not passing on attitudes and behaviors that were nailed to the cross at Calvary. Tell them what God has rescued you from. By the power of Jesus’ blood, break the yokes of sin the enemy straps to you. And take Jesus’ yoke upon yourself, for it is light and his burden is easy.