Psalm 79 And 80
These tow psalms are national prayers in times of national disaster. In Jewish synagogue worship, Ps. 79 was prescribed for use in commemoration of the destruction of the temple in 586 BC and in AD 70. Try to recapture the sense of desolation that pervaded the nation (79:1-4, 7, 11; 80:12, 13), together with the feeling that exile brought dishonor to the Lord’s name 79:10; cf. Ezek. 36:20).
- 79. Note here the plea for vengeance, coupled with prayer for forgiveness and deliverance. Cf. Is. 35:4; 59: 16-19; 63:3,4. The New Testament is no less concerned for God’s glory, but its emphasis is different. Cf., e.g., Mark 11:25; Rom.12:19-21. How do you account for this difference?
- 80. What do the Israelites confess here concerning God’s attitude towards them and his treatment of them? Where does their only hope of salvation lie? What ought we to learn from this?
- 79:3. ‘There is no-one to bury the dead’: a disgrace threatened in Deut. 28:26 and repeatedly predicted by Jeremiah (7; 33; 8:2; 9:22).
- 80:1, 2. The three tribes mentioned here camped west of the tabernacle in the wilderness, and immediately followed the ark when the people were on the march. Se Num. 2:17-24.
- 80:17. This verse points forward to the Messiah.
- 81. What does God demand here of his people (verses 1-4)? Of what dose he remind them (verses 5-7, 10-12), and practical challenges dose he confront them (verses 8, 9, 13-16)?
- 82 is a dramatic picture of the judgment and condemnation of divinely appointed judges who have failed to fulfill there office. What dose God demand of such men (verses 2-4), and what is the effect on society of there failure (verses 5)? In such circumstances, what hope is there of justice being done?
- 83. A strong coalition of enemy nations is plotting against Israel to destroy it. On what grounds does the psalmist plead for God to act? What in particular dose he ask of God, and to what end? Contrast this with the prayer of Acts 4:29, 30. Is a prayer like the psalmist’s still legitimate?
- 81:7. Cf. Exod. 14:10, 24.
- 82:1, 6. From john 10:34, 35, it is clear that earthly judges are referred to here. They were called ‘gods’ and ‘sons of the Most High’ in virtue of there high office as dispersing divine justice. Cf. Rom. 13, 4.
- Verses 1-4. ‘Blessed are those who dwell in your house’. Consider the significance of the language which the psalmist uses Note particularly the names he gives to God. What was the object of his deepest delight?
- What characteristics of the pilgrim to Zion are mentioned in verses 5-9? From where dose he derive strength to continue his journey? What is the basis of his security? What self-discipline must he practice? What are his crowning rewards (verses 10-12)?
- Verse 6. ‘The valley of Baca’: some dry and barren valley where balsam trees (baca) grow, which the travelers approach with dread only to find that the God-given rain has transformed it.
- Verse 7. Far from being wearied by their journey, the pilgrims are strengthened by the prospect of the vision of God in Zion.
- Verse 9. A reference to the King, the Lord’s anointed, i.e., the Messiah.
- Verses 1-7. To what does the psalmist make appeal in his prayer, and for what does he pray? Note that his prayers are not for himself, but for God’s people. Do you have any comparable conviction and concern?
- Verses 8-13. In his answer, what blessings dose God promise, and to whom?
- Verse 8b, An abrupt warning to God’s pious ones not to ‘return to folly’. For what is meant by ‘folly’. See ps. 14:1; Rom. 1:21, 22.
- Verse 9b. The ‘glory’ is that of the revealed presence of God. Cf. Exod. 40:34; Zech.