Today marks the halfway point of our second of fives passes through the Psalms this year. Today we read Psalm 79-81.
This morning we read and meditate on Psalm 79. After I read I’ll sketch several flags in my Bible’s margin with a pencil to represent various “nations.”
“How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealousy burn like fire? Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the kingdoms that do not call upon your name! … Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?'” (79.5-6,10a)*
About mid-day today we read Ps. 80 and consider it. I’ll bear down with my pencil and draw a boar.
“You brought a vine out of Egypt, you drove out the nations and planted it. … Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit? The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.” (Ps. 80.8,12-13)
Tonight we read Psalm 81 and think about what it says. A basket full of dirt and rock is what I’ll sketch.
“I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket. In distress you called, and I delivered you …” (81.6)
* An allusion to Ps. 79.6 appears in 2 Thes. 1.8.
What stands out to you as you read Psalm 79-81 with me today?
This morning we ponder Psalm 79, the words of those doing the exceedingly hard labor of lament over profound, personal loss and devastation. What stands out to me today are the three reasons the psalmist offers to God for him (God) to step in and do something, and now:
1. Do something for our sake: “Do not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.” (vs.8)
2. Do something for us for your own sake: “Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.” (vs.9)
3. Do something for the sake of those yet to believe: “Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?'” (vs.10)
At mid-day today we reflect on Psalm 80, more words from a community doing grief work. The thing that captures my attention the most this time through this psalm is the vividness of the metaphors for this community’s grief, namely that grief is their food and drink:
“You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.” (vs.5)
Tonight we meditate on Psalm 81, a liturgical word of prophetic warning (similar to Ps. 50). My eyes keep coming back to these words, probably because I watched the first half of the eclipse of the super blue blood moon this morning:
“Sound the ram’s horn … when the moon is full, on the day of our festival … When God went out against Egypt …” (vs. 4-5)