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Psalm 79

Talks for Growing Christians

Asaph Laments the Destruction of Jerusalem

Psalm 79

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Lesson Number 59

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Believers should follow Asaph’s example in his lament for Jerusalem.
  2. Believers should follow Asaph’s example in his prayer for deliverance.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t gloat, but rather give glory to God!

Questions

  1. Who was Asaph?
  2. What other Old Testament book addresses the horrible conditions that followed the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians?
  3. Was Asaph interested in personal revenge?
  4. What was the root cause of the nation of Judah’s devastated condition?
  5. Did God answer Asaph’s prayer?

Answers

  1. Asaph was a contemporary of David who was appointed to be David’s chief music director. However the Asaph who composed both Psalms 74 and 79 must have been a descendant of this Asaph. Both of these psalms address the destruction of the temple, which came 400 years after David’s time.
  2. Lamentations, especially chapters 4:4-10. The people actually practiced cannibalism for survival during the siege of Jerusalem.
  3. No. He is calling for God’s wrath to be poured out on the enemies of the Lord who have dared to attack God’s people and destroy the temple.
  4. The cause of their devastation was the nation’s sin. Asaph acknowledges and confesses this sin in verse 8.
  5. Yes, God in His grace preserved a Jewish remnant in Babylon where they thrived and later came back to Jerusalem in a miraculous return.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Asaph did not minimize the distress he was experiencing in his lament before the Lord. Do you think that as believers there is pressure to ignore the reality of a painful situation or keep a stiff upper lip? How can you follow Asaph’s example when bringing your heartbreak before the Lord?
  2. Discuss the four arguments on which Asaph based his appeal for divine mercy and deliverance of God’s people. 1) The compassion of God. 2) The glory of God’s own name. 3) The vindication of God’s people. 4) The power of God.

Challenge

  1. God is able to vindicate Himself when people blaspheme His name, deny His existence, defame His character, and blatantly tear down biblical moral standards. When we do see Him act in judgment against such people, we should not gloat, but rather give glory to God for His righteous judgment.

Key Verses

  • “O God, the nations have come into Your inheritance; Your holy temple they have defiled; They have laid Jerusalem in heaps.” Psalm 79:1
  • “Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’ Let there be known among the nations in our sight the avenging of the blood of Your servants which has been shed.” Psalm 79:10
  • “So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations.” Psalm 79:13

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