Because of the persistent sin of Israel, God allowed the temple in Jerusalem to be destroyed and His people to be defeated by surrounding nations.
Psalm 79 is a cry for rescue during this time of crisis.
Israel has been unfaithful to God and has suffered the consequences of sin. The psalmist asks God how long it will be until the nations that attacked Israel, nations that do not acknowledge God’s name, will also be punished.
How long, LORD? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy keep burning like fire?
Pour out your wrath on the nations
that don’t acknowledge you,
on the kingdoms that don’t call on your name (v. 5-6 CSB)
The psalmist acknowledges Israel’s sin and asks for God’s compassion in this time of need.
Do not hold past iniquities against us;
let your compassion come to us quickly,
for we have become very weak. (v. 8 CSB)
The central cry of this psalm is a plea for God to rescue Israel, not for their sake, but for the sake of God’s name and His glory. God is the God of our salvation; He alone atones for our sin.
God of our salvation, help us—
for the glory of your name.
Rescue us and atone for our sins,
for your name’s sake. (v. 9 CSB)
We will praise You
Even though Israel suffered the consequences of their sin, they are still God’s people, the sheep of His pasture. The psalm closes with a determination to declare God’s praise to future generations.
Then we, your people, the sheep of your pasture,
will thank you forever;
we will declare your praise
to generation after generation. (v. 13 CSB)
Like Israel, we also suffer painful consequences for our sin. And we too can cry out to God to rescue us for the glory of His name and can determine to declare God’s praise to future generations.
Father, forgive me for my sin against You. Help me and rescue me for the glory of Your name. You atoned, or covered, my sins on the cross. You are the God of my salvation. I will thank You forever for Your salvation and will declare Your praise to future generations. In Jesus’ name, Amen.