Where is Jesus in Psalm 79?
Is Jesus there, somewhere, in the midst of the blood and vengeance and anger that seem so contrary to His teachings? Can we see Him underneath it all if we look carefully for Him?
Is He there as a lover? As One who dies sacrificially on our behalf, because without him, we can’t climb out of the mess of our brokenness?
They have poured out blood like water
all around Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury the dead. –Psalm 79:3
Is He there as an empathizer? As One who knows how it feels when blood is spilt and God seems to have turned His back?
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? –Psalm 79:4-5
Is He there as a companion? As One who is present to love and listen when we are in the midst of our pain?
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. –Psalm 79:6-7
Is He there as a grace-giver? As One who hears the heart behind our requests, even if the words themselves are ugly?
Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;
may your mercy come quickly to meet us,
for we are in desperate need. –Psalm 79:8
Is He there as an advocate? As One who holds up pleas for mercy and help on our behalf when our own arms are giving way?
Pay back into the laps of our neighbors seven times
the contempt they have hurled at you, Lord. –Psalm 79:12
Is He there as a transformer? As One who takes our desire for revenge and tells us to forgive not seven but seventy seven times?
Help us, God our Savior,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins
for your name’s sake. –Psalm 79:9
Is He there as an answer? As One who embodies the mercy, forgiveness, and help we ask for, not matter the context?
Is Jesus present in this Psalm, underneath all the raw and ugly words of vengeance, as the Word itself? As One who speaks life back to us when we speak words of death to Him?
Can we find Jesus even here?
Over the weekend, I had the privilege of hearing Greg Boyd speak about how he believes Jesus is the lens through which we should view all Scripture. This is my attempt to put that into practice with a Psalm I would have preferred to skip over if I could.
That was my reflection on Psalm 79. Please link up with your reflection below. Or add a comment: How do you see Christ present in this Psalm? Then, come back next week to reflect on Psalm 80.
(Email & RSS readers, click over to my website to add your link or read the links of others.)