The church is here described as under great affliction. The burden of the complaint is to this effect; the Psalmist looks up to the throne for deliverance, and makes use of the strong plea of God's faithfulness for his support, and expresses his dependence on the divine mercy.
A Psalm of Asaph.
It is not distinctly marked, by any parallel part of the history of the church, to what period this desolation refers. As the prophet Jeremiah who lived and ministered in the church about the time of the Babylonish captivity, hath a parallel passage in his prophecy, it is probable that the Psalmist alludes to the Chaldean army; compare Jeremiah 10:25, with Psalms 79:6-7. But whether this be so or not, the pious humble believer may, in a spiritual sense, but too often find cause, from the assaults of sin and Satan, to lament at a mercy-seat the desolating power of the enemy. Reader, well it is for the faithful, that Jesus and his righteousness are of everlasting and eternal worth.
This forms a sweet prayer. The Holy Ghost puts a number of those how longs in the heart of the earliest praying believer. The kingdom of God is taken by violence.
Many of the prayers we meet with of this kind are more to be considered in the form of prophecy, than of imprecation: they meant to say that God will pour out the vials of his wrath upon prayerless persons and families, agreeably to his divine declaration, Psalms 11:6.
These prayers are evidently dictated by the Holy Ghost, because they are founded on God's promises. See Isaiah 43:25; Ezekiel 36:22.
Here is another most glorious argument for the church, or the sinner s to take to the mercy-seat; and furnishes another testimony that it is dictated by the Spirit of God. Joshua 7:6-9.
Here is a blessed additional prayer of faith. Are not all sinners, as sinners, appointed to death? But when the Lord puts a cry and a sigh in their souls for sin, and directs the eye of faith to the blood and righteousness of Jesus; what are these but so many earnests of the Spirit? Ezekiel 9:4; Psalms 56:8.
What is here spoken by way of prayer, is also to be considered as the language of faith. The Lord will recompense the wrongs of his people upon their enemies; and the Lord will secure the salvation of the just: they are his redeemed, and whoso toucheth them, toucheth the apple of his eye. Sweet consideration! Jesus knoweth them, owneth them, and will bless them, for they are his. And all his sheep must pass again under the hand of him that telleth them. Jeremiah 33:13; John 10:27-28.
READER! do not fail, from the perusal of this short but sweet Psalm, to remark how the church hath been exercised from age to age, and what a correspondence there is, and ever hath been, between the faithful in their experience all the way along. Yes! blessed Jesus! the exercises of thy people are among the earthly inheritance to which they are born, and to which thou hast begotten them: these are the spots of God's children; the marks of their sonship. Oh! for grace to discover, by these certificates, to whose family we belong.
Reader! see to it, that thy cries for deliverance are founded on the same plea: it is all in Jesus, the inheritance of his redeemed, the portion of his chosen. Every prayer is directed to the God of salvation, and every plea for mercy is founded in God's covenant-mercy, as it is in Jesus. And oh! for faith to depend on covenant-faithfulness, while pleading covenant-grace and covenant-promises. Yes! blessed Redeemer! all is founded in thine everlasting righteousness, and the eternal efficacy of thy blood; by virtue of which the name and faithfulness of Jehovah becomes pledged to his people, and their redemption is forever secured. Hail! almighty Lord! thou hast sworn once by thy holiness, thou wilt not lie unto David.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 79". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30