Sunday, June 5
Many are the hardships of the righteous one, but Jehovah rescues him from them all.
Because we know that our loving God is always ready to help those who are faithful to him, we feel secure as part of ‘the flock of his pasture.’ Moreover, God’s love for us will be evident in what he will accomplish in our behalf through the Messianic Kingdom. After his chosen King, Jesus Christ, rids the earth of violence, oppression, and wickedness, obedient mankind will be blessed with lasting peace and prosperity. Right now, however, Jehovah has favored us with the priceless privilege of serving as his Witnesses. We love God for granting us this opportunity to support his sovereignty and to bring true hope to people in this troubled world. Moreover, we can speak with faith and conviction because we are declaring good news based on the Word of the true God, whose hope-inspiring promises never fail.
The first sentence cites Psalms 79:13 and Asaph’s reference to “the flock of his pasture.” The entire Psalm though is quiet extraordinary in its implications.
The Psalm was evidently composed after Babylon wrecked Jerusalem —devastating God’s flock. That is why verses one thru four state: “O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance; They have defiled your holy temple; They have turned Jerusalem into a heap of ruins. They have given the dead bodies of your servants as food to the birds of the heavens and the flesh of your loyal ones to the wild beasts of the earth. They have poured out their blood like water around Jerusalem, and no one is left to bury them. We have become an object of reproach to our neighbors; those around us ridicule and jeer us.”
The desolation of Jerusalem and the subsequent repurchase of God’s inheritance and their restoration to Jehovah’s favor is the subject matter of virtually all of the Hebrew prophecies, with the exception of the book of Jonah. The desolation of the holy place is also the central feature of Jesus’ prophecy of the conclusion of the system. Appropriately, the theme of the book of the unveiling —Revelation —concerns the judgments of God that begin with the seven symbolic congregations of Christ that ultimately results in the nations trampling the holy city underfoot for 42 months.
Being within the flock of God provides protection only as long as God allows. But as the 79th Psalm indicates it does not shield one from God anger. That is why the Psalmist wrote: “How long, O Jehovah, will you be furious? Forever? How long will your indignation burn just like fire? Pour out your wrath 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 have desolated his homeland. Do not hold us accountable for the errors of our ancestors. Quickly show us your mercy, for we have been brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the sake of your glorious name; rescue us and forgive our sins for the sake of your name.”
If we are to fully support Jehovah’s sovereignty, as the daily text says that Jehovah’s Witnesses do, that means we must accept all of God’s judgments —even his punishment. Please note that Asaph was not praying for forgiveness merely for his personal shortcomings. He used the plural pronouns “us” and “we.” In other words, Jehovah’s earthly organization was in desperate need of God’s mercy. The nation had brought reproach on Jehovah and it resulted in provoking God’s fury.
We now stand on the brink of the ultimate expression of the anger of God. Be assured Jehovah’s Witnesses will not be casual bystanders to it. Not at all. Judgment begins first with the house of God.
As in the first century the shepherd will be struck and the sheep will be scattered. Only in the aftermath of God’s wrath will Christians be gathered into the Kingdom. Then God judges the nations. That is what the concluding verses of the 79th Psalm speak to. “Repay our neighbors sevenfold for the taunts they have leveled at you, O Jehovah. Then we, your people and the flock of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; and we will declare your praise from generation to generation.”