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In Case You Missed It -- Number 7, Psalm 79

When life is going poorly, it is natural to long for better days in the past. Psalm 79, however, isn’t nostalgic as it addresses the pain of Israel’s loss of their great temple, likely at the hands of Babylon. Instead of looking with fondness backwards, Psalm 79 recognizes Israel’s past sins with regret (Psalm 79:8-10). Very easily the Psalm could have focused on Israel’s better days, like those we read about in Numbers 7. In that chapter, Israel is unified in their worship of God, and their wealth is apparent as they bring their gifts to celebrate the consecration of the tabernacle. Psalm 79 does not harp on the glory days, but hopes for future glories. Psalm 79 cries out to God to protect Israel and bring swift justice to Israel’s enemies for disdaining God’s people and His temple. The reason for this is two-fold. First, the hope is that other nations might realize God’s power and love for Israel (Psalm 79:10). Secondly, Israel’s desire to praise God forever spurs them to ask God to protect and vindicate them (Psalm 79:13). Today, we do well to take a similar approach in our frustrations about the state of our nation, culture, and church. Our hope is not found on returning to some golden age in the past, but on faithful living with the God of all justice so that neighbors might know us as God’s people and that God’s people might ever praise God.

Jeremiah Vaught