Psalm 79, 80, 81 - A Glorious Collection

As we have been reading in these last several Psalms in the 70’s … Oh my.  We have been wading through groaning, lament, darkness, remorse, and hardship.  We have seen little of the Glory and Praise of Psalms that is so popular, filling and easy.  However, these tougher sections are real parts of life.  We face a multitude of difficulties; some from our own doing, some from our own disobedience, and some having little to do with our actions at all.   Whatever the cause, these times are still challenges and can bring us low.

As we come to Psalm 79, we begin a series of 3 Psalms that display a path forward, a path out of the pit, a path back to the praise-filled focus we seemed to just have, but slipped through our fingers.  

Psalm 79 opens with the same dismal view of the circumstances that were a true view.  This was not a false despair, but rather an actual view of a bad situation.  However, we begin to see things change in verse 8 and following … “Let Your compassion come quickly … Help us, O God of our salvation … and deliver us and forgive our sins” and again in verse 11, “Let the groaning of the prisoner come before You;” they brought their prayers humbly to the Lord.  They then end this Psalm with, “So we Your people … will give thanks to You forever … we will tell of Your praise.”

Psalm 80 continues this theme of crying out for God’s involvement in their life and circumstances.  Immediately the Psalm exclaims, “Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel … and come to save us!”   It continues in verse 3, “O God, restore us and cause Your face to shine upon us.”   These yearnings continue through the Psalm with a rehearsal of how the Lord had been faithful in the past.  As we come to the close of the Psalm, a return to these pleas for the Lord’s action, “Revive us … Restore us; Cause your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.”

Now that Israel has turned to the Lord in humility and dependence, looking to Him solely for their salvation and renewal, we see a whole new tone as we come to Psalm 81.  This Glorious Collection of Psalms seen together are helpful for all of us in our walk with Him.  When the joy of our relationship with the Lord has slipped away, may we return to Psalm 79 & 80 to join in the humble plea for the Lord to come close, join into our lives actively, and shine fully within us.   Then we can come to Psalm 81 to “Sing for joy to God our strength; Shout joyfully to the God of Jacob.  Raise a song, [with all the appropriate instruments].”

An addition to the beauty of this process that we see is the second part of Psalm 81.  Once we get past the recognition of our need to turn to Him and do so, finding a renewed joy in our relationship, bringing a refreshed spirit ready to praise Him with joy … (what a gracious process He has allowed repeatedly in my life); He is not quite done.   This is the point at which we are the most ready to listen to truth, to good teaching, to hard sayings.  Verse 8 begins a section of the Lord correcting the path of wrong, “Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you … Let there be no strange god among you.”  He then warns of past consequences that were seen from disobedience as a warning out of care and ends with an intention of ongoing nourishment.  These hard truths are for their good.

How good it is when we follow His way and praise His name … good for us.

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