Bible Study Notes (1-25-09)


Psalm 79: The Cry of a Nation Judged




In this time in America many Christians are worried. A man has taken the highest office in the land whose policies and views fly in the face of God’s moral standard. Some call him THE Antichrist, but those with more level heads doubt such a thing. But lest we point the finger to far away from us, lets stop and check ourselves. Are we, as a nation, upholding God’s moral standard in our everyday lives? Are we? On a whole, the answer is no. Our entertainment is filled with blasphemies, perversions, and various forms of sin and vice which receive no consequence. Our daily speech is peppered with gossip or vulgarity and the time we have is not redeemed. Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way…” *We are a nation that has forgotten the Lord.*

What happens when a nation turns its back on God? God judges them. In this Psalm, we hear a song of a man who has seen his city ravaged, his countrymen slaughtered and carried off like cattle, the Holy place of worship defiled and the instruments of worship turned to plunder. Let us listen to the song of a broken man from a broken land to the Holy God who saves.


Ps 79

See also Dt 28:15-68, 2 Kings 24:18-25:21


 Ps 79:1–3

 The defilement is not only of the temple, but of the land as well. Making all of Judah not only defiled in their relationship with God, but in their nationality. Total depravity.


 Ps 79:1

 inheritance  = Jerusalem, Zion.


 This verse shows parallelism. The worst possible thing has happened. The holy place of the Lord has been treated with disdain. Unclean nations have taken over. The prophecies of Jeremiah (26:18 ) and Micah (3:12) have come to pass. The King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, trashed the temple and laid the city to waste.


 Ps 79:2

 In the wake of the conquest there is a trail of blood. No doubt there was a remnant of faithful in Jerusalem, those who loved the Lord and refused to bow the knee to Baal and whatever other false god. Yet some of them were destroyed as part of God’s just judgment on a nation that whored itself to idols. Xref with Dt 28


 Ps 79:3

 For further ignobility the bodies of the dead are left unburied. (See Jeremiah 14:16)


 Ps 79:4

 The great nation that came out of Egypt to conquer the land becomes a conquered people. Pagan nations mock those who neglected their God and whose God has now neglected them.


QUESTION: What causes the Lord’s jealousy? Is the Lord’s jealousy right? (See, for example, Dt 31:16, 2 Cr 21:11-13, Ez 16:26-30)


Ps 79:5–7

Here we see the view that Judah deserves favored status over other nations. The Lord is angry, but He should punish the nations who hurt Judah! God is just! Let him avenge!


Ps 79:5

God is called “Jealous God” six times (in combination with other similar adjectives many other times.) See Ex 20:5, 34:14; Dt 4:24, 5:9, 6:15; Jos 24:19.


Ps 79:6

The ones deserving of wrath are God’s enemies who not only reject the one true God, but trample God’s people.


Ps 79:8–10

The Psalm writer lifts up his voice as he laments the sins of the past to which he is joined, he cries out for salvation from those sins for God’s glory.


Ps 79:8

The iniquities, the sins, to which the author refers, can be found mentioned in Jer 11:10. From the crushing weight of sin the sinner is brought low in repentance and then begs God for compassion.


Ps 79:9

God is called upon for salvation, for deliverance, for atonement. Truly humble and contrite one does not seek salvation selfishly, but seeks salvation for God’s glory. (See Is 45:22, Is 48:10-11 and Ps 23:3)


Ps 79:10

This specifies the mockery spoken of in verse 4. With trust that God is just and has aptly punished Judah, the psalmist cries for vengeance. (See Ps 94:1, Dt 32:35-43)


Ps 79:11–13

The psalmist continues his call for justice for God’s people against their (and God’s) enemies. He concludes with a confession of humility, praise and promises of praise.


Ps 79:11

God’s people had been carried off into bondage. The psalmist asks that they be heard in their prayers and that they will not be killed, thus cutting of the families of Israel. (See also Rev 6:9-11)


Ps 79:12

The psalmist asks that the vengeance for his people and for such on behalf of the Lord be done completely and totally.


Ps 79:13

At last, we have praise. In this final verse of praise the psalmist conveys total submission and dependence upon the Lord (see Ps 23:1), thanksgiving to the Lord despite current circumstances (see Psalm 136), and promises a persistent and everlasting praise to the eternal Lord.



The nations which neglect God will be judged. It will be done, seemingly, without mercy. It will be done for the Glory of God’s name and the salvation of the faithful will also be done for the glory of God’s name. We cannot think that we are immune to God’s judgment because we are faithful to Him. As long as one in part of a rebellious nation, one will feel the sting. This is the same way Daniel was sent off Babylon, and the same way many good and faithful Christians are now struggling to keep a financial head above water. 2 Chr 7:14 says, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Let us as Christians be marked by repentance for our nation and for ourselves as we call to heaven for God’s justice and compassion. Let us also remember to tell others of that justice and compassion as perfectly displayed upon the cross where Jesus died for the sins of those who would repent and put their faith in Him. Let us call with prophetic voice, “Look unto the Lord, all the ends of the earth and be saved!”


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