A sermon idea based on Psalm 79:1-9.
Psalm 79:1-9 NRSV
 O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple; they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.  They have given the bodies of your servants to the birds of the air for food, the flesh of your faithful to the wild animals of the earth.  They have poured out their blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them.  We have become a taunt to our neighbors, mocked and derided by those around us.
 How long, O LORD? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealous wrath burn like fire?  Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the kingdoms that do not call on your name.  For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation.
 Do not remember against us the iniquities of our ancestors; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low.  Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name’s sake.
The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…
The spiritual condition of the world around us may break our hearts – and this is appropriate – but we can never give up on God’s willingness to show mercy and compassion because his nature never changes.
Information about the text that matters to the message…
In this psalm, Asaph is asking God to cleanse the temple, the place where people have encountered his glory in the past so that his own reputation and glory might be vindicated.
What matters in this passage, is not a normative view of how God works, but rather an understanding of who God is. Our prayers to him are better off based on the unchanging, faithful character of God than on the ever-changing behaviors of human beings.
We know that God isn’t angry forever. That he is full of mercy and compassion. And that he desires to be glorified among his people.
So we can confidently pray that God would show up again and show his compassion and mercy as he has in times past so that the world around us might know his goodness.
The big call-to-action in the message…
When you pray this week, pray for the culture around you not based on how good you perceive Christians to be, but based on the character of God that bends toward forgiveness and mercy.
About the Cover Art: Photo by Kevin Young on Unsplash.