For they have devoured Jacob and devastated his homeland. (Psalm 79:9)
This verse is at the middle of this psalm, which in Hebrew literature makes it the central theme of this psalm. Asaph describes something that is not a very pretty situation.
Asaph says “they” have done this. But to whom have they done it? To the Israelites? Yes, but it goes deeper than that. Or should I say it goes higher than that? “They” have actually done these terrible things to God Himself—
- Your inheritance is invaded
- Your temple is destroyed
- Your servants are attacked
- Your name is dishonored
- insults are hurled at You
In the New Testament, Jesus said His followers should expect persecution. But notice that Jesus said this persecution was because of Him. “They” are not really attacking Christians, but “They” are attacking Jesus Himself. When Jesus revealed Himself to the persecutor of Christians named Saul of Tarsus, He said to him, “Saul, why do you persecute Me?”
Asaph recognizes “They” are attacking God, so he also expects that God will deal with them—
- may Your mercy meet us
- may Your name be glorified
- may Your strong arm be revealed
- may Your sheep be protected
- may You be praised forever
When—not if—persecution comes our way, we must remember to shift our paradigm from “They” to “You.” “They” are not to be feared, but God is to be feared and reverenced. “They” don’t get the final word, but God, “You” get the final and decisive word. When the attacks come because you stand for Christ, take your eyes off of your persecutors and put them on your God.