Theme: Looking Ahead with Hope and Confidence
In this week’s lessons we learn that when hard times come, we are to wait upon and praise the Lord with expectant hope.
Scripture: Psalm 79:1-13
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. Derek Kidner says, “To look back to verse 1 is to wonder at the faith which enabled such a psalm, from such distress, to end, even if only in anticipation, with such a word as praise.”1
The secret of this confidence is in what verse 13 talks about, namely, that the people will always be God’s people, the sheep of his pasture. In one sense, this brings us back to where the psalm started out, for it began by speaking of “your inheritance… your holy temple… your servants… your saints.” That is, whatever has happened, it is because the people belong to God and not because they don’t. The psalm ends on the same note, because it is still true that “we are your people.”
The closing also links this psalm with the two preceding it and carries their endings forward into the present. Psalm 77 ended with God shepherding the people “like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron,” that is, at the time of the exodus and desert wanderings. Psalm 78 ended with God shepherding his flock by the hands of David, that is, during the time of the monarchy. In Psalm 79 this has extended into the present and beyond, which is a way of saying that God will always be our good shepherd. This is true, which is why the psalm rightly ends with the word “praise.”
1Derek Kidner, Psalms 73-150: A Commentary on Books III-V of the Psalms (Leicester, England, and Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity, 1975), p. 288.
Describe what is anticipated in verse 13.
How can we have the confidence that we will always be God’s people?
Application: No matter what happens during the course of the day, resolve to end each day with praise.
For Further Study: To look deeper into why God allows human suffering, download for free and listen to Donald Barnhouse’s message from Romans 5, “God’s Purpose in Human Suffering.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)