Psalm 79: deja vu
August 10, 2007 § 1 Comment
This psalm reminds me of Psalm 74. We hear the same cries for justice, for revenge, for restoration, and again, I can’t help thinking they did something to deserve it.
Oh, I have nothing against prayers for forgiveness — but this psalm isn’t one of them. In all 13 verses and hundreds of words, there are only four words that resemble such a prayer. You’ll find them in verse 9: “wipe away our sins”. I don’t consider that a prayer. When you look at the tone, it’s more of a request. As a matter of fact, I find the tone of this entire psalm brash and unrepentant.
Instead of falling on his knees and begging God for grace and redemption, the author of the psalm blames Him for allowing pagans to invade Israel and Jerusalem. He complains that people have been killed, and that the nation of Israel has become the laughing stock of its neighbors. There is no remorse in this psalm — there is only reproach toward God. The author requests that Israel receive its deliverance for the sake of God’s name; he invokes this as a right, since they considered themselves God’s people. Truly, they had been chosen, but it was never a birthright. It needed to be deserved, and the privilege of God’s favor remained with them only when merited. Otherwise, this psalm wouldn’t have been written.
How quickly people forget that God owes us nothing! We owe Him everything, but most of us of us do nothing for Him.
Even more repulsive is the request for vengeance on not only the nations that invaded them, but on their neighbors, for daring to laugh at their misery. Add to that the hollow-sounding declarations of verses 8 and 13, where the author asks God not to count against them “the guilt of former generations”, then promises to thank Him “for ever”, and to recite His praises “from age to age”, and you’ve got one pitiful psalm.
What about the guilt of that generation, the one that sparked God’s anger in the first place? There’s no mention of that in the psalm! I need do nothing to refute the claim made in verse 13. History itself proves it false.
I wonder, how hard is it for people to learn (Jew and Christian alike) not to make false promises to God? Do they think they’re fooling Him? Or are they fooling themselves?
I’m pretty sure this prayer fell on deaf ears, but then that should come as no surprise to the attentive reader.