God’s people find themselves captives in a strange land and they cry out for God’s deliverance in today’s Bible reading*. Asaph records their prayer in Psalm 79.
Do not hold past iniquities against us; let your compassion come to us quickly, for we have become very weak. God of our salvation, help us, for the glory of your name. Rescue us and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake. Why should the nations ask, “Where is their God?” Before our eyes, let vengeance for the shed blood of your servants be known among the nations. Let the groans of the prisoners reach you; according to your great power, preserve those condemned to die. Pay back sevenfold to our neighbors the reproach they have hurled at you, Lord. Then we, your people, the sheep of your pasture, will thank you forever; we will declare your praise to generation after generation.
Psalm 79:8–13 (CSB)
Note that Asaph doesn’t ask God to inflict judgment on their enemies for revenge. Instead, he asks God to deliver His people for His Own Name’s sake. He asks God to deliver His people so that His Name would be praised for generations to come. He asks God to deliver His people to prove Himself to be good and the God of His Word.
I have mentioned several times that we can use the Psalms as models for our own prayers. We can also use the Psalms to pray for other people. Right now, I’m praying Psalm 79 for God’s people in Afghanistan.
As I’m typing this, Afghanistan has fallen into the hands of the Taliban. Since last weekend, women and young girls have been taken by force to be sold into sex slavery. Women are having to completely cover their faces, not just wear a hijab (headscarf). Sure, the Taliban leaders say they will protect the rights of the women, but they add the caveat “according to Islamic Law”. Shariah Law gives women almost no rights. Shariah Law requires multiple eye-witnesses for a man to be convicted of rape. Shariah Law prohibits women from driving or going to school. For the past twenty years, Afghan women have tasted freedom for the first time in over a century.
I read that in July several (many?) Christian pastors and church leaders publicly registered their Christian faith with the government of Afghanistan in recent days. They feel it’s the right thing to do. And in doing so, they have put a target on their backs and on the backs of their family members. They know that they have perhaps signed their own death warrants.
God, rescue Your people for the sake of Your great Name. Rescue Your people so that Your Name will be praised. Show Yourself to be a good God. Show Yourself to be the God Who maintains His covenant with His people. Let the evil Taliban see the faith of these Christian leaders. Open their ears to these Christians’ testimonies. Use this horrible situation for Your glory. Bring many Muslims to faith in Jesus Christ.
* Chapters covered in today’s reading: