Forgive Us! We Have Gone So Long In The Wrong Direction (Psalm 79)


1 A Psalm of Asaph. O God, the nations have come into Your inheritance; Your holy temple they have defiled; They have laid Jerusalem in heaps. 2 The dead bodies of Your servants They have given [as] food for the birds of the heavens, The flesh of Your saints to the beasts of the earth. 3 Their blood they have shed like water all around Jerusalem, And [there was] no one to bury [them]. 4 We have become a reproach to our neighbors, A scorn and derision to those who are around us. 5 How long, LORD? Will You be angry forever? Will Your jealousy burn like fire? 6 Pour out Your wrath on the nations that do not know You, And on the kingdoms that do not call on Your name. 7 For they have devoured Jacob, And laid waste his dwelling place. 8 Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, For we have been brought very low. 9 Help us, O God of our salvation, For the glory of Your name; And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, For Your name’s sake! 10 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. 11 Let the groaning of the prisoner come before You; According to the greatness of Your power Preserve those who are appointed to die; 12 And return to our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom Their reproach with which they have reproached You, O Lord. 13 So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations.

PSALM 79:1-13


I picked my mother up from the airport in New Orleans one evening and headed back to Mobile, AL. Somewhere along the way I took a wrong turn, or maybe I didn’t take the right turn, either way the result was that we were traveling north in Mississippi not East like we should have been. My mother was quick to notice that we were headed in the wrong direction, but I was slow to concede that I was off track. It wasn’t until we were well into rural Mississippi that I pulled over to a gas station and asked for directions to Mobile and found out that we had spent serious time and miles going in the wrong direction. In short, it would take a while to get back on track.

On one level I got what I deserved. I was the one who made the decision to press so far in the wrong direction and so I should be the one to repent all those miles… but my mom, as much as she disagreed with my foray into rural Mississippi also paid the price. She knew we were headed in the wrong direction, but she paid the price the same as me because reguardases of who was in control of the vehicle, we were in the same vehicle.

After a series of bad kings, finally there arises a “good” king in Israel. And as he steps up to lead he has to note that the nation has gone so far off track and even though he didn’t lead the nation in sin, he will have to lead the nation in repentance. He wonders though, as much as his heart has been set to do what is right, is it enough? Has the nation already gone too far? So he calls out to God for his mercy.

We live in families and nations. There may be folks who are leading who have brought us far away from God. It wasn’t our choices that brought us collectively there, it was theirs, but because they were in the driver’s seat, they took us for the ride and so we find ourselves repenting of their sin.


Father, I acknowledge that there are many sins that I am guilty of in my own life and I am grateful that you have brought me to repentance on the sins that I own. I also confess that I belong to a country that stands in need of repentance. On one level I know that I’m not in control and I’m not actively in rebellion, but on another level I know that our nation is far from you o Lord and so I confess and repent of the sins of my nation. Only you can heal our wounds. Along with the psalmist I ask, “is it too late? Or is there still time?” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

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