Psalm 79:6–13 6Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, And upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name. 7For they have devoured Jacob, And laid waste his dwelling place. 8O remember not against us former iniquities: Let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: For we are brought very low. 9Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: And deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake. 10Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? Let him be known among the heathen in our sight by the revenging of the blood of thy servants which is shed. 11Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; According to the greatness of thy power, Preserve thou those that are appointed to die; 12And render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom Their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O Lord. 13So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture Will give thee thanks for ever: We will shew forth thy praise to all generations.
Someone anticipated my arrival, got there first and left a basket filled full of kindness. When I checked into the hotel, I found it, a special someone had been there first and was thinking of me.
Have you ever had something like that happen? Isn’t it thoughtful?
Here is an overview of our passage, the psalmist calls out for God to deliver justice to those who showed such excessive cruelty toward his people. It is always worth noting in these imprecatory Psalms (those that call out for Divine retribution) that while the prayer to pour out wrath upon others seems very harsh, asking God to deal out revenge is far better than taking it into your own hands. There is an understanding that the suffering described in this Psalm was punishment for sin so there are prayers for forgiveness.
There is one word stood out to me in this prayer for judgment and plea for forgiveness that I need to discuss, “prevent”.
Psalm 79:8 O remember not against us former iniquities: Let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: For we are brought very low.
“Let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us”.
When we use that word "prevent" in our modern vocabulary, we typically think of keeping something from occurring but that is not the meaning here. The old English use of the word means to “go before” or “to get there first”. Let’s think about this passage that way.
“Let your tender mercies speedily go ahead of us and get there first”
He does that ya know?
One wonderful truth about our Lord is that he is never surprised, in his omniscience he has already seen what is coming and in love and mercy has made provision.
In one of the greatest heartbreaks of my life I had learned that someone I loved had been unfaithful. I was devastated beyond description. A friend delivered a card to my home that evening on behalf of a wonderful white-haired saint. The envelope was sealed and the card inside was dated a couple of days before my discovery. It said something along these lines,
“God laid you on my heart tonight. I know that you are about to go through something very dark, but he wants you to know that he will carry you through. I love you but more important than that, the God that sent his Son to die for you loves you more than me.”
I wouldn’t tell you all that was said or embarrass her by exposing her name but that precious lady listend to the Lord and became God’s courier, delivering some messages that I will never forget, here they are.
I knew before you knew!
I was there before you arrived!
My tender mercies got there first!
Hey, when you arrive wherever you are going, God got there first!