Daily Readings and Thought for February 15th. “HOW LONG WILL YOU BE ANGRY WITH YOUR PEOPLE’S PRAYERS”


The Psalms are Israel’s fascinating Hymn Book, but some of the hymns are mournful, even despairing!  These are written later in times of despair, as God’s nation faltered in their commitment to him when evil and faithless kings replaced the good ones, leading eventually to the destruction of Jerusalem.  Yet, this is one of the features of God’s word; it paints in the valleys and the shadows as well as the high hills and lofty themes.

Today’s Psalm laments, “O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple; they have laid Jerusalem in ruins” [79 v.1].  They are in anguish over the situation, “we have become a taunt to our neighbours, mocked and derided by those around us.” [v.4].  The next Psalm (80) asks, “O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?”[v.4] 

This reminds us of what the LORD said to Jeremiah, “… do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble” [Ch.11 v.14]  Oh dear!  Is this the God of love?  But the Bible does not simply say “God is love”, remember how Paul wrote, as we read at the beginning of this month of “the severity of God”  (Romans 11 v.22) compared to his “kindness …”   Isaiah, in the first chapter of his prophecy has this message from God, “when you spread your hands, I will hide my eyes from you, even though you make many prayers I will not listen … wash yourselves, make yourselves clean … Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow …” [v.15,16,18].  A great many prayers are offered to God today; let us make sure ours are in the spirit revealed in the Scriptures.

Later in Psalm 80, the prayer reaches its climax with these prophetic words, “let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself” [v.17]  The ultimate application of this prayer – is to the Lord Jesus Christ!  The final fulfilment of the prayer which concludes this Psalm will be when Christ returns!  And the words of that last verse?  “Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved.” 

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