If God’s people degenerate through sin from what their father’s were,
they may expect that God will let a just reproach come upon them that they might be brought to true repentance.
Those who desire God to avenge them must themselves be upon praying ground.
1 O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.
2 The 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.
3 Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them.
4 We are become a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us.
5 How long, LORD? wilt thou be angry for ever? shall thy jealousy burn like fire?
6 Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name.
7 For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place.
8 O remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low.
9 Help 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.
10 Wherefore 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.
11 Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die;
12 And render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O Lord.
13 So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.
Psalm 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Psalm 79 – “Help Us, O God of Our Salvation”
It was the period of the Chaldean invasion. This cry of horror went forth from the heart of the Chosen People, who had looked upon the sacred shrine as inviolable. They could not believe that the tide of invasion could break in upon Jerusalem, or that the Holy City should be defiled by the profane feet of the heathen. This psalm should be compared with the book of Lamentations. We there find the same horror, the same anguish, the same sense of surprise, the same hatred of the foe, the same cry to God.
Does it seem as if God were angry with you? Have the heathen forced their way into the inner shrine and city of your heart? Are you brought very low and near unto death? Then begin to inquire whether some sin may not have alienated God from you. Confess it and put it away. Turn to God with a free and glad faith. Ask that His mercies may prevent and His help succor you, for His Name’s sake. The sighing of the captive and the greatness of God power, Psalms 79:11, are in close affinity; and when you are delivered, remember your vows, and show forth His praise to all within your reach. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Psalm 79:5—How long, LORD?
To us, also, as to this long-suffering Jew, God’s dealings seem sometimes interminable. We do not understand why the cloud hangs over us so long, why the pressure of trouble lasts year after year. We cry, “How long, LORD?” in gusts of impatience; but take care not to hurry God unduly, lest thou force Him to forego doing his best work in thy life.
This parable helped me; may it help you to be silent, still, and long-suffering. A bar of iron, worth £I, when wrought into horseshoes, is worth £2; if made into needles, it is worth £70; if into pen-knife blades, it is worth £650; if into springs for watches, it is worth £50,000. What a drilling the poor bar must undergo to be worth this; but the more it is manipulated, the more it is hammered and passed through the fire, and beaten, and pounded, and polished, the greater its value.
So with the Jews. No other nation has passed through such awful trial and discipline as they have; but no other nation was capable of yielding such wealth of service to mankind, nor affording such untold service in the highest regions.
So with ourselves. Those that suffer most are capable of yielding most; and it is through pain that God is getting the most out of us for his glory and the blessing of others. It will be all right some day. We shall see it and be satisfied. Yes, great Father, we would like to be watch-springs. Take no heed of our cry if sometimes we forget ourselves and say, How long?
“Then haste Thee, Lord! Come down,
Take thy great power and reign!
But frame Thee first a perfect crown
Of spirits freed from stain.” —Our Daily Homily