Friday, June 17, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapters 79-80

Psalm 79

A Psalm of Asaph.

1O god, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.
2The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth.
3Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them.
4We are become a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us.
5How long, LORD? wilt thou be angry for ever? shall thy jealousy burn like fire?
6Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name.
7For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place.
8O remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low.
9Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake.
10Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? let him be known among the heathen in our sight by the revenging of the blood of thy servants which is shed.
11Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die;
12And render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O Lord.

13So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.

Psalm 80

To the chief Musician upon ShoshannimEduth, A Psalm of Aspah.

1Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.
2Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us.
3Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
4O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?
5Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure.
6Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves.
7Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
8Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.
9Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.
10The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars.
11She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river.
12Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her?
13The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.
14Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;
15And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.
16It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.
17Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.
18So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.

19Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

Chapter 79

I'd say that the first five verses or relate to my darkest moment not because I did engaged in things that the heathen did -- as the passage descibes -- but because I did rebel against Him, which probably angered Him (v. 5). I like Henry's thought on the verses, "In every affliction we should first beseech the Lord to cleanse away the guilt of our sins; then he will visit us with his tender mercies." That's basically what I did so the enemy would stop influencing me. He did pour out tender mercies on me, which was a great thing that reminded me that He loves me. And since I didn't have guilt and had God took that burden, I felt a sense of peace and warmth. I can't say I can't relate to verses 6 and 7, but Iam reminded that God will take care of the heathen as He sees fit (v. 6). Think I'll dig into verse 8 a little bit and how I relate to it. "O remember not against us former iniquities" means to me that God not only forgives but He also forgets. In other words, He doesn't hold sin against me, which is great because if He did, I'd have to live up to some absurd standard, which I would fail to do so in my attempts. I also feel that when I became a Christian, God took that desire to sin away and forgot my sins that I committed up until that point. It works that way as well, mostly because when I became a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and part of that resulted in my old sin nature being removed, which also ties in with 2 Corinthans 5:17. "Let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low" means to me that sometimes I ask God to help me to not sin because, which sometimes results in being desperate (brought very low) for His help. That leads to God delivering me and forgiving me or purging me from my sins (v. 9) -- both of which He did when I was facing my darkest moment. He did those things so He could be glorified, or rather for His name's sake. I can't relate to verse 10, but I do like Henry's thoughts on the last few verses, "How fervently should he at all times pray, O let the sighing of a prisoner come before thee, according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die! How glorious will the day be, when, triumphant over sin and sorrow, the church beholds the adversary disarmed for ever! while that church shall, from age to age, sing the praises of her great Shepherd and Bishop, her King and her God." What I have to add to that is I look forward to when God is  triumpahnt over sin, which will basically take place when Christ returns. It'll be a great thing to have Satan's influence removed once and for all. Who knows? Maybe some people will come to Christ as a result of that.

Chapter 80

Matthew Henry comments on the first few verses by stating the following, "He that dwelleth upon the mercy-seat, is the good Shepherd of his people. But we can neither expect the comfort of his love, nor the protection of his arm, unless we partake of his converting grace." I did take part of His converting grace when I decided to follow Him and when I was saved as a result (v. 2). God'll turn to me when I'm in a bad spot (v. 3), which was what my darkest moment basically was. That verse, though, is mostly dealing with being saved and I feel that God did shine His face upon me when I prayed and accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. He knew I needed to be saved and honored that by (metphorically) shining His face upon me. I can't relate to verses 4-6, but it is speaking of those who engage in secret sin, which is how Henry puts it, "If he is really angry at the prayers of his people, it is because, although they pray, their ends are not right, or there is some secret sin indulged in them, or he will try their patience and perseverance in prayer. When God is displeased with his people, we must expect to see them in tears, and their enemies in triumph." However, if I did live with secret sin, I would turn to Him (v. 7), which would result in me not living with the consequences of secret sin, which are described in verses 4-6. In verses 8-16, the church is spoken of as the vine, which is implied in verse 8, where it says, "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt." Taking verses 8-16 into account, I am reminded of John 15 where Jesus speaks of the vine and the branch, specifically of verses 1-8, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." The church is thought of as Christ's disciples and those in it bear much fruit for Him. People in my church that are rooted in Him (Psalm 80:9) is something is that I see, such as with the worship hosts and myself as well as the worship team. I think it's cool that if one is rooted in Christ, that will be evident in their actions and their dedication to Him (John 15:4). That thought also goes along with verse 9 because where it says, "and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land" means to me that since I am rooted in Christ, I can do things that fill the land -- or rather be a blessing to those around me that need it. It'd be cool to be used by God to not just have an impact on one person but a bunch of people and do something that affects my community which His love is displayed through. I've been used by God that way before -- such as the time I did community service at CityTeam, which I think I talked about before -- and it'd be great to be used by Him like that again. I'm not sure how verses 10-11 tie or if I can even relate to them, but in verses 12-13, I do see a parallel between John 15:6, which says, "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." I do abide in Him, which is shown by the fruit I bear and the things I do which glorify Him, such as worship hosting, drawing, and writing. I try to make a difference in the loves of others by doing things that glorify God, such as my reflections on the Psalms. If someone comes to Christ as a result of or in the process of my reflective writings, great. If not, I'm not gonna get mad at God. God will use His Word as He pleases -- my reflections are just a way of reaching out to those who have dealt with similar things in their lives. Sometimes the church needs help with its vine, such as the time when my church was facing financial hardships (vv. 13-15). I've talked about that before, so I'm not gonna go into detail about it. If you read what I said about my church's financial hardships, you'll see how the verses connect. If not, I'll explain it to you. He was upon my church during those times (v. 17) and He did not turn from us (v. 18). He did shine His light upon my church (v. 19) and we were saved from out hardships.

                                               Sources used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 79". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 80". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

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