Psalms 79 – 83

Psalm 79 – Communal Prayer: When Invaded By Fierce Enemies
Psalm 80 – Prayer For God To Restore His People After They Have Been Ravaged By Enemies
Psalm 81 – Exhortation To Israel: “If Israel Would Only Follow My Ways, How Quickly I Would Subdue Their Enemies”
Psalm 82 – Prayer For God To Judge The Wicked Rulers Of The Earth
Psalm 83 – Communal Prayer: When Attacked By Coalition Of Enemies

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One Reply to “Psalms 79 – 83”

  1. Yesterday I read “Hacker” (Ted Dekker) and was captivated by his imagery of someone entering heavenly realms, experiencing visions, especially the main character’s vision of her mom in perfect health and free from pain. The joy that awaits us is unbelievable–literally. The peace God wants for us is incomprehensible. We are bound up in time and space and God has neither constraint, nor does he wish it for us. We are eternal creatures, meant for unfathomable joy and peace. We have but a few years on this earth in this body to make a difference for so many.

    Today’s readings dip into the music of psalms and artistically give us an opportunity to pray collectively.

    Psalm 79.  Feels like this some days, but really, we have no clue what it’s like to be invaded by enemies (at least most of us do not). I just received “Tortured for Christ,” the 1967 book that continues to be updated. These people read this psalm (and many psalms like it) with a different perspective. Lord, I pray for understanding and sympathy for those who have witnessed that which should not be seen. Please give me holy discernment as I see those around me.  “How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire?” (79:5)  “Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name” (79:9), for your glory is what we pray for as a community. We lift you up Lord.

    Psalm 80. Again we sense the agony of the difficult times, “How long, Lord God Almighty, will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people?” (80:4). As we read through the Bible, especially the Old Testament, it’s easy to lose track of how much time passes between sections of scripture. These psalms were likely to be sung repeatedly for days, weeks, even years as they wait for deliverance.  “Watch over this vine, the root your right hand has planted, the son you have raised up for yourself” (80:14-15). Our microwave mentality makes it hard to wrap our minds around the pace of these people, our ancestors. We’re quick to read their history and see that highlight reel. Lord help us understand these things for your glory, for the glory of your name.

    Psalm 81. Remember the water that came from the rock, “I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Hear me, my people, and I will warn you–if you would only listen to me, Israel!” (81:7-8).  “If my people would only listen to me” (81:13). This is a song I feel like I can sing today. We are so enlightened (as a people) that we don’t “need” to listen, we know so much. Lord help us to hear, even when we believe we understand.

    Psalm 82. Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6 when Jewish opponents rise against him, preparing to stone him for blasphemy. “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are ”gods”? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came–and Scripture cannot be set aside–what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?” (John 10:34-36). Notice that the word “gods” is in quotes in the psalm, “God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the ‘gods'” (Psalm 82:1). Here, ‘gods’ are synonymous with regional rulers, magistrates, etc. Jesus uses the psalm to confuse his would-be judges and perhaps more importantly, to make the point that God has sent him, his only Son, into the world.

    Psalm 83. This psalm memorializes several events that were not doubt familiar to the people of that time (and should be to faithful Bible readers!). As is often the case, a single reference like, “as you did to Midian” (83:9) refers to an particular time that makes this psalm particularly poignant…to those who know the story. Today, if we wrote this psalm, we might include a quick references to “nine-eleven” and memories would flood our minds. Each generation has these thoughts and it’s important to keep this in mind when reading through Scripture.  “Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord–that you alone are the Most High over all the earth” (83:18).

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