Our Greatest Resource and Weapon (Psalm 79:9)
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake! —Psalm 79:9
It’s helpful to take a few moments to read the first nine verses of Psalm 79—this passage gives us a description of the very distressful situation that precedes our Fighter Verse. It is as if we are standing beside Asaph, and with him survey the ravaged landscape for anything left intact. As far as our eyes can see there is complete destruction and waste of the once beautiful city of Jerusalem and its environs…torn apart and flattened. Did you feel like weeping as you read those verses? I did.
John MacArthur labels this portion of Psalm 79, “A Dirge and a Prayer for Israel, Destroyed by Enemies.” It is a devastating loss for Israel. The center of their identity as a nation, their temple to the living God, has been desecrated and trampled by the enemy—and the people’s hearts are broken. Added to their own grief and shame is the damning conviction that this invasion, and victory for the enemy, reflects unjustly on their God’s strength and power to protect them. God would be mocked by the uninformed onlookers and Israel’s unbelieving foes. No one has told the enemy that it was, in fact, Israel’s God who has allowed this brutal attack because of His people’s sins and unfaithfulness to Him.
Now, in the midst of chaos, loss, destruction, death, and sin, what does one do? Who will right the irreparable mess surrounding the remaining Israelites? For there is no one who can restore Israel and their relationship to God except God Almighty Himself. So… does Asaph throw up his hands and pray to die?
Never! This faithful servant of our God models for us the righteous response and enters into a spiritual battle that is as effective when employed today as it was then! He falls to his knees, and from his distressed heart he calls out to God—His God!
The God who created the universe and everything in it!
The God who performed mighty miracles to release His beloved Israel from Egypt!
The God who parted the Red Sea so thousands of Israelites could escape Pharaoh, and then brought the powerful waves crashing down to the destruction of Egypt’s army.
The God who carved out a nation in which Israel could grow and prosper.
The God who taught them how to live, how to worship, how to deal with sin, and how to love their God!
To this God, Asaph abandons himself. He cries out to Him, “Help us, oh God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sin, for Your name’s sake!”
It is a sweetness to the soul to see the faith implied in these requests:
He turns immediately to His God, knowing that in God’s answer and provision, the people are given their best and only hope. It also implies that he knows that God is the only One who can bring needed healing and restoration.
He gives God exalting worship addressing Him as “the God of our salvation;” and then humbles himself and acknowledges that the glory of his God is of more importance than the immediate demands of a destroyed Israel.
He also begs for deliverance—a request of gigantic proportions, followed by another equally impelling need—the forgiveness and atonement for his sins and the sins of Israel.
On what basis does Asaph justify asking these things from God? That the great I AM may have His will performed on this earth, to the glory of His name.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this is not a prayer lost in antiquity, nor is it just a report of this episode in the Asaph’s life. But God included this prayer for our good. By it He has bared His heart of love and deep concern for His people. He has crafted a weapon, a priceless resource for every living soul that has received His salvation, that we might never be left without His help, solutions, and comfort in our terrors and agonies. Instead, He has offered us the privilege of prayer, of being heard by the Sovereign God.
This isn’t theoretical…we have lived it out…it is true. In answer to prayers of the distressed and hurting, God has performed countless solutions and rescues to the many problems we have faced. And since He never will leave us or forsake us, we know He will continue to hear us and act until the day we die. The sweet love that God adds to His rescue is His promise to work all things together for good to those who love Him and are called to His purposes. What a marvelous gift of hope and confidence for us. Thank You, Lord Jesus!
Psalm 79 is God’s wisdom for you and for me today. Asaph would say to this generation that as soon as trouble comes to you, use your weapon! Cry out to our Lord. Send your urgent petition to your faithful Savior! “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; deliver us and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake.” Then, be watching for His solution, the help that He will send. And give Him glorious thanks and praise for His love and deliverance!
Memorize this prayer.
Call for Jesus at the top of your lungs when you have insurmountable issues—He will come. He will help you.
Give praise to God for His help every day—I think it will be amazing someday in glory to discover how many times and many ways the Lord Jesus saved us physically and spiritually while we lived out our lives!