Psalm of the Day and Psalm 79

LANE: I only get five minutes a day of outside phone time but unlimited time to call the Psalm a Day line. A big ripoff, by the way, because Psalm 79 has been on there for three straight days. That’s not in keeping with what their name clearly implies, which is a new psalm per day, every day. Not the same tired one from the previous two days.

Mrs Kim has given Lane unlimited phone privileges to call the Psalm a Day Line, a number where you pay by the minute to hear a psalm each day – the same psalm being up all day.

Psalm 79 is identified in the Old Testament as “a psalm of Asaph”. Asaph was a member of the guild of musicians, and he may have either written, transcribed, or collected the psalms with his name attached, or they were produced by his guild, or written in a style he initiated.

Psalm 79 is a communal lament upon the destruction of Jerusalem, probably by the Babylonian army in 587 BC, and in particular the defilement of the Temple by allowing dead bodies to lie there, without burial.

The psalm expresses some sentiments pertinent to Lane’s situation, in particular asking how long God will remain angry at them and begging for mercy. It mentions hoping the groans of prisoners will help change God’s mind, just as Lane hopes her mother’s anger will eventually soften so that Lane can be released from her prison.

O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble.

They have left the dead bodies of your servants
as food for the birds of the sky,
the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild.
They have poured out blood like water
all around Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury the dead.
We are objects of contempt to our neighbors,
of scorn and derision to those around us.

How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever?
How long will your jealousy burn like fire?
Pour out your wrath on the nations
that do not acknowledge you,
on the kingdoms
that do not call on your name;
for they have devoured Jacob
and devastated his homeland.

Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;
may your mercy come quickly to meet us,
for we are in desperate need.

Help us, God our Saviour,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins
for your name’s sake.
Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”

Before our eyes, make known among the nations
that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants.
May the groans of the prisoners come before you;
with your strong arm preserve those condemned to die.
Pay back into the laps of our neighbors seven times
the contempt they have hurled at you, Lord.

Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
will praise you forever;
from generation to generation
we will proclaim your praise.

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