1 You showed favor to your land, O LORD; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins. Selah
3 You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger.
4 Restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
8 I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints but let them not return to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
10 Love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps
Love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. As I read these two verses, I see a beautiful picture of the gospel. God in his righteousness looked down from heaven and send his son into the world to give us hope. Now with hope we look to heaven with faithfulness knowing that Christ will come again and restore all things to him. This hope gives us peace. We no longer need to worry about today or tomorrow for the Lord will indeed give what is good to us.
Yet, this is not the hope of those you know not the Lord. Those who know not the Lord look to this hope as foolishness and a weakness to those who believe in this hope. I realized that their eyes are indeed blinded to this hope. Why this blindness? Is it because of the desires for the things of this life (the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life) that is ever portrait before them by Satan? As I look back on my walk with the Lord, I realize the hardships that were part of my path, the many failures I had; however, I realize also that through it all God was there with me. The more I travel down this path with the Lord the more I realized I do not deserve these blessings from the Lord, and yet I come to a peace about the relationship because I realize that His nature is slowly be reflected by me to others.
As I started today’s journey in the psalms, I started it off this morning by sharing with a friend the first verse of Psalm 81 as a song of joy. Verse one of Psalm 81 states “Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!” In this psalm the psalmist writes “The LORD will indeed give what is good, andour land will yield its harvest”. As I read these Psalms 81 through 85, I see a picture of the believer’s journey in this world.
A maskil of Asaph.
This is the third of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph
1 Why have you rejected us forever, O God? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?
2 Remember the people you purchased of old, the tribe of your inheritance, whom you redeemed Mount Zion, where you dwelt.
3 Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins, all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary.
4 Your foes roared in the place where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs.
5 They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees.
6 They smashed all the carved paneling with their axes and hatchets.
7 They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name.
8 They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!” They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land.
9 We are given no miraculous signs; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be.
10 How long will the enemy mock you, O God? Will the foe revile your name forever?
11 Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!
12 But you, O God, are my king from of old; you bring salvation upon the earth.
13 It was you who split open the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.
14 It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.
15 It was you who opened up springs and streams; you dried up the ever flowing rivers.
16 The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon.
17 It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.
18 Remember how the enemy has mocked you, O LORD, how foolish people have reviled your name.
19 Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.
20 Have regard for your covenant, because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.
21 Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name.
22 Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long.
23 Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries, the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.
This psalm starts with these two questions: why have you rejected us forever, O God’ and why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture? He then goes on in the psalm and writes about the power of God, verses the pride of the wicked. Why God does permit the wicked to mock Him and his people. These are questions that we ask God when everything around us seems to be falling apart. Why does it seem godless prosper?
Asaph also tackles the question of why a sovereign God permits evil and why this evil behavior seems to prosper. In verse 22 he writes “Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long.” One of the most difficult questions I can’t answer is “why does God permit evil?” Every time I ask this question I go to Genesis chapter three. Why was the tree of knowledge of good and evil placed in the Garden of Eden? Why was Satan allowed to tempt Adam and Eve in the Garden? Was man created by God as a result of Satan’s rebellion?
As I read this psalm I realize that sometimes when I read the Bible I end up having more questions than answers. However, I know that I can always fall back on the faithfulness of God. The battle of the godless (wicked) against God present questions that I may never understand.