Read Psalms 78 -- 80
We are reminded of the horror felt by the Israelites following the destruction of the Temple and their nation because they kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in His Law (Psalms 78:10). The inevitable result of sin is suffering both for ourselves and for others. The heathen . . . have laid Jerusalem on heaps. The dead bodies of Your servants they have given to be food to the fowls of the heaven. . . . There was no one to bury them. We have become a reproach to our neighbors, a scorn and ridicule to them that surround us (79:1-4).
When godly kings ruled Israel, they could proudly let the world know that God was their Rock and Redeemer. But evil kings encouraged the people to sin. They (the Israelites) flattered Him (God) with their mouth, and they lied to Him with their tongues. For their hearts were not right with Him, neither were they steadfast in His covenant (78:36-37). Although they continued their traditional worship of the God of their fathers, they gradually became friends with their Canaanite neighbors, even participating in the worship ceremonies of their heathen gods.
Israel's history illustrates how vital it is for God's people to read His Word in order to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). God had chosen Israel to be a witness to the world, showing how He would bless all who honor Him and His Word; but they failed miserably as a nation. The few remaining faithful cried out: O remember not our former iniquities (sins); but let your tender mercies speedily prevent (quickly intervene); for we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your Name! . . . Deliver us and purge away our sins, for Your Name's sake (Psalms 79:8-9). To purge away our sins means to make an atonement for our souls (Exodus 30:15). The Old Testament word atonement means to cover (not remove). Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered (Psalms 32:1; 85:2).
The blood sacrifices of animals could only temporarily "cover" sins until Jesus, the sinless, perfect Lamb of God, sacrificed His own life's blood for the sins of the world. John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and said: Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). With Jesus' death, all of the Old Testament sacrifices for sins, which formerly had only temporarily "covered" sin, were removed by His sinless blood, which cleanses us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9). The all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ on the cross made it possible for both Jews and Gentiles who truly repent and turn to Jesus as their Savior to be forgiven of their sins (Galatians 3:27-28). There are no exceptions, Israel's sacrifices and Feasts were symbols which foreshadowed all that was accomplished by Jesus the Messiah. He perfectly fulfilled their prophetic meaning. Thus, God forever destroyed the old sacrificial system under the Law and now proclaims: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14).
Christ Revealed: As the true Shepherd (Psalms 80:1). Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd, as well as the Door of the sheepfold. He alone is the way to Heaven. I am the Door . . . if any man enter in, he shall be saved. . . . I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:9,11).
Word Studies: 78:15 clave means split; 78:34 enquired early means sought diligently; 79:1 on heaps means in ruins; 79:4 derision means ridicule; 80:3 turn us again means restore us; 80:8 a vine means Israel; 80:12 hedges means walls or fences; 80:18 quicken us means; revive us.
Government Officials: Rep. Julia Carson (IN), Rep. John Dingell (MI), and Sen. Phil Gramm (TX) · Pray for Ron and Gloria Bechtel, Universal Printing, printers of Bible Pathway in U.S. · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by A Family that Loves Jesus · Country: Oman (2 million) on the southeastern coast of Arabia · Major languages: Arabic and English · Fewer restrictions on Christian activity than most of its neighbors · 97% Muslim; .5% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Do not worry about your material needs (Matthew 6:25-30).
Optional Reading: II Thessalonians 2
Memory Verse for the Week: Hebrews 9:14