April 20, 2015

Psalm 79:9-10 Help us, O God our Savior,
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?”

The best thing about this cry for help is that it puts the focus on God. We tend to put the focus on ourselves, poor little me, but that isn’t very productive. That said, the problem with this cry for help is that in historical context, the answer to the question posed here is that the Jews had denied their God and followed all sorts of lies, and what they were going through was the natural consequence of that. The writer does acknowledge that they had sinned, and he very rightly basis his request for forgiveness not on human righteousness but on the reputation of the Name of the Lord. God doesn’t have an ego to be bruised, but He does desire that people know His character so that they will be more likely to turn to Him. That’s why He did indeed answer this prayer, though not with the timing and methods the psalmist probably had in mind. All of this certainly brings America today to mind. No other nation apart from Israel has been so boldly founded on “the laws of nature and nature’s God” as America, yet today there is a concerted effort to deny that that was the intention of the Founding Fathers at all. As part of that, there is also a strong denial of “the laws of nature and nature’s God,” to a degree that violates all logic and common sense. Why would you throw out and degrade marriage, which is the foundation of civil society, and even the biology that under-girds it? Those in America who call on the Name of the Lord in truth need to repent of taking His Word lightly and call on Him for His mercy, much as the psalmist did here. Only then will the nations recognize that the God America has claimed since its founding is the Creator and Savior indeed.

I am at a physical remove from America, but the Internet keeps me more aware than I would like to be of the current level of degradation. Like Daniel, I am to pray for God’s mercy on the nation regardless of my personal righteousness, while at the same time recognizing that any righteousness I have is only by His grace. I am saddened to have to tell Japanese that at present America is not a Christian nation in practice, but my focus should not be on man and his actions at all. Rather, I am to focus on God, in my prayers and in my daily living. I am not to “cast the first stone,” but rather cry out to God for His mercy on us all.

Father, life on this earth is such a mixture: joy and sorrow, holiness and obscenity, obedience and rebellion. As the song says, it makes me “long for heaven and home.” However, as that song also says, I know You are watching me. Help me rest in that knowledge, seeking and receiving forgiveness as necessary and walking in obedience and submission to You, doing Your will on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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