Reading Psalm 79, it’s a bummer to see how not that much has changed in relation to God’s people and the scorn they get at the hands of the world around them. Such as in Psalm 79:4 – in Asaph’s words, do you feel echoes of things you’ve heard recently? Of people deriding, mocking, looking down upon us for our faith? Everyone seems to have more and more stories today of encounters or experiences with those scoffing at expressions of faith while propping up secularism, mysticism, and antitheism on pedestals.
In times when faith is tested, especially in monumental ways like today’s vast cultural schisms, some can see it as a reason to doubt God’s providence; rather, surely these are signs of the church’s ever-greater need to outwardly display it. And Psalm 79 is a great example in my mind of doing so by holding fast to hope in God’s righteousness. Verse 9 in this passage says, “Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive us our sins for your name’s sake.” We must set ourselves apart as Christ-like in all words and actions in this world, letting all people see and experience the changing power of Christ in our lives through our abstinence of sin, deliverance from evil, and embracing of visible, indisputable spiritual transformation.
As verse 10 put it, “Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”” We should offer non-believers no opportunity to point out hypocrisy in God’s people as we walk blameless paths in life and reflect Christ’s grace towards us to those around us. People should be able to see our lives and clearly know where our hearts lie. But this doesn’t always turn out to be the case, does it? Amidst this Psalm, Asaph’s own people are likely experiencing the long-term after-effects of Israel’s works of evil (2 Chronicles 36). But like Asaph approached God in begging for forgiveness of their sins, rather than clinging to the sins of our past – “do not remember against us our former iniquities” needs effort on our part too – we must embrace repentance & embody Christ’s forgiveness, and become a people radiating that undeniable love right now in a way that can’t be ignored. I read Romans 12, and ask myself: what could possibly be more radically astounding and mind-blowing to today’s world than a true Christian?
Let this be a reminder that when expressing and living our faith is perilous, God has ensured victory for His faithful. When we cry out to God despite whatever has happened to us, we know He will address His enemies appropriately in our stead, and deliver us into His kingdom. Verse 13 of this passage says “Then we the people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.” Take a deep breath this Friday morning, and remember how God has delivered His people through trials before; and when they remain faithful, they have endured by His might. Pray with me now for the day that we are justified; that Christ would soon claim His victory over His enemies many times over; and for the day after God’s people once more overcome their trials, when we too will recount His praise forevermore through eternity.