Psalm 79 tells the story of God’s people going through loss. They had been disobedient to God and He has allowed their enemies to defeat them. This likely refers to Babylon’s attack and capture of Jerusalem. They took many of God’s people away and made them prisoners. “We have become a taunt to our neighbors, mocked and derided by those around us”. Those who remained were a laughingstock to the area. They may say they are God’s people, but the reality is they are losers who have been over run.
It is obvious to all that God is not happy with His people and has removed His hand of protection. The bodies of those slayed were left lying on the ground to rot and be eaten by the wild animals. The enemy had robbed the city of anything of value. Now the cry goes out to God for Him to help His people. “Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the kingdoms that do not call upon your name!” The psalmist can’t understand why God is allowing this to happen to His people.
But down deep the writer knows the root cause is sin and disobedience. “Do not remember against us our former iniquities; let your compassion come speedily to meet us”. He cries out for God’s compassion and that God will return and help restore His people to their place of honor. The reason for their plight is obvious. “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!” And so is the recovery – to once again walk in obedience to God.
It all comes down to knowing whose they really are and putting God back where He belongs. He is a jealous God. He will not be pushed aside and ignored, which is what the people had done. Now the writer calls on God to allow His people to return to His protection and receive the restoration of His kingdom. “We your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise”. This flock is ready to return to God’s protection and put God in His rightful place once again.