What is this restoration for which the psalm is asking? And what does this indicate about its historical setting? The first stanza begins by talking about God as Israel's shepherd, which links it thematically with the earlier two psalms, which also talked about God shepherding his people.

The last verse of the psalm stands by itself, for this is no longer a case of petition. The prayer has ended. This is rather a faith-filled anticipation of a brighter, future day when God's people will again praise him with full hearts and with fresh memories of what he has done for them (v. 13). It is amazing in its confidence that a day like this will come.

We continue looking at the four important questions, confessions or statements in this passage of Psalm 79. Yesterday we looked at the first two, and today we pick up with the second two.

The next two stanzas (vv. 5-8 and 9-12) are best if they could be taken together, for they contain the substance of Asaph's prayer to God following the lament in verses 1-4. They ask different questions. The first asks, “How long, O LORD? Will you be angry forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire” (v. 5)? This is the same question that was asked in Psalm 74:10. It emphasized the "forever." The next stanza asks, “Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’” (v. 10).

We have already commented on Asaph's distress over the destruction of Jerusalem when we were discussing Psalm 74. In that psalm Asaph took God by the hand, as it were, and walked him through the ruins of the desolate and abandoned city. "Look, that is where they broke in," he seemed to be saying. "They set up their military standards over there. That is where they attacked the carved paneling. After that they burnt the temple. Look at those ashes. That is all that is left. Then, as if the damage to the temple were not bad enough, they went through the whole land to destroy every place where you were worshipped. And they have done it!" Both psalms ask how long this terrible state is to continue: Is it to go on forever?