Asaph sings of the time when Israel and Judah are brought low. God is silent on His people’s behalf. Asaph asks how long this will last.
This psalm speaks mainly of Judah as Jerusalem is a prominent feature in it. By the time Judah is brought low, Israel has already fallen. Both fall because of their sin in rejecting God. Once in that position they turn back to Him for help.
In the previous psalm, Asaph reminded the people of the importance of teaching the successive generation about the wonders of God and His Laws. Apparently they didn’t take this to heart or they wouldn’t be in this situation. He loves His children and will do whatever it takes to get their attention but God doesn’t use correction when it isn’t needed.
God is patient but even His patients had an end. This turning away from Him had been going on for MANY generations. There were times of returning but they were short lived. Israel and Judah’s sins had piled high. There was no recourse but a strong crack down. It was the only way God could get their full attention.
One thing I find interesting in this psalm is that Asaph is ‘enticing’ God to help His people for HIS name sake. “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; deliver us and atone for our sins, for Your name’s sake! Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’” (verse 9-10a). “Return sevenfold into the lap of our neighbors the taunts with which they have taunted You, O Lord!” (verse 12). He is NOT asking God to save them because they are worthy of saving. He admits they have sinned but is asking God to make it right for them. And THEN they “will give thanks to You forever; from generation to generation we will recount Your praise” (verse 13b).
This promise was supposed to be the one they kept already. It is the same one they made on several previous occasions, including at Mt. Sinai. It is also the one we have made on SEVERAL occasions in our own walk. Man cannot do it alone! That’s why we need Jesus; our Salvation.
Jesus is actually spoken of in the above verses but not by name. Asaph asked God to “deliver us and atone for our sins” (verse 9b). That is exactly what Jesus did. We honestly can’t make it right (atone) on our own. We can repent and try to make amends but that doesn’t remove it. True deliverance required Jesus’ blood. Even the blood of the sacrifices didn’t completely remove sin; it covered it instead. And God gave us Jesus’ blood for His name’s sake and for love.
God kept His promise to Eve by sending His Son Jesus. His word required His action. But His love prompted it. That AMAZING LOVE is the reason we KNOW He will still restore us even when we break our promise of “forever giving thanks.”
Thank You Father God that You do forgive me and have provided a way for me to be clean in Your sight! I am NOT worthy of this gift but I accept it whole heartedly. I want to sing Your praises forever for ALL You have done for me. When I forget, please forgive me again. I pray I never have to go through as severe a ‘correction’ as Israel and Judah did. But if I do, I will trust You in whatever You do.