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Psalm 79:9

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 9. "Help us O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name." This is masterly pleading. No argument has such force as this. God's glory was tarnished in the eyes of the heathen by the defeat of his people, and the profanation of his temple; therefore, his distressed servants implore his aid, that his great name may no more be the scorn of blaspheming enemies.

"And deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake." Sin, -- the root of the evil -- is seen and confessed; pardon of sin is sought as well as removal of chastisement, and both are asked not as matters of right, but as gifts of grace. God's name is a second time brought into the pleading. Believers will find it their wisdom to use very frequently this noble plea: it is the great gun of the battle, the mightiest weapon in the armoury of prayer.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 9. "Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name and deliver us." "Help us" under our troubles, that we may bear them well; "help us" out of our troubles, that the spirit may not fail. "Deliver us" from sin, and from sinking. Matthew Henry.

Verse 9. "God of our salvation." If human reason were to judge of the many and great blows wherewith God so often smote and wasted his people, it would call God not the Saviour of the people, but the destroyer and oppressor. But the faith of the Prophet judges far otherwise of God, and sees even in an angry and pursuing God, the salvation of his people. The gods of the nations, though they do not afflict even in temporal things, are gods not of the salvation of their worshippers but of their perdition. But our God, even when he is most severely angry, and smites, is not the God of destruction, but of salvation. Musculus.

Verse 9. "For thy name's sake." Twice the appeal is made "for thy name's sake;" that revelation of God which he had made of himself to Moses when he passed by and proclaimed the name of Jehovah, Exodus 24:6-7 . Compare Psalms 20:1 23:3 29:2. J. J. Stewart Perowne.

Verse 9. "For thy name's sake." The good which God doth unto his church, be it temporal or spiritual, is for his own sake. What I do (saith God), I do for mine holy name's sake; there is nothing to move me but mine own name; that is holy, great, and glorious, and I will for my name's sake do much for my church and people. That they were preserved in Babylon, was for his holy name's sake; that they were brought out of Babylon, was for his holy name's sake; that they were replanted in Canaan, was for his holy name's sake; that they had a temple, sacrifices, priests, prophets, ordinances again, was for his holy name's sake; when they were near to destruction often, in former days, God wrought for his name's sake, Ezekiel 20; so Isaiah 48:8-9 . It is not for the enemies' sake that God doth preserve or deliver his people; nor for their sakes, their prayers, tears, faith, obedience, holiness, that he doth great things for them, bestows great mercies upon them; but it is for his own name's sake. For man's sake God cursed the earth, Genesis 8:21 ; but it is for his name's sake that he blesseth it. The choicest mercies God's people have, are for his name's sake: they have pardon of sin for his name's sake, Psalms 25:11 1 John 2:12 ; purging of sin for his name's sake; Psalms 79:9 ; leading in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake, Psalms 23:2 ; quickening of their dead and dull hearts for his name's sake, Psalms 143:11 . Though his people offend him, yet he forsakes them not, for his great name's sake. William Greenhill.

Verse 9. If God could not be more glorified in our peace and reconciliation, than in our death and damnation, it were a wicked thing to desire it. But God hath cleared this up to us, that he is no loser by acts of mercy. In this lies the greatest revenue of his crown, or else he would not love "mercy rather than sacrifice." God is free to choose what suits his own heart best, and most conduce to the exalting of his great name: and he delights more in the mercy shown to one than in the blood of all the damned, that are made a sacrifice to his justice. And, indeed, he had a higher end in their damnation than their suffering; and that was the enhancing of the glory of his mercy, in his saved ones. This is the beautiful piece God takes delight in, and the other but the shadow of it. Then thou art in a fit disposition to pray for peace, and mayest go with encouragement when thy heart is deeply affected with the honour that will accrue to God by it. It is an argument God will not deny. "This," said Abigail to David, "shall be no grief to thee nor offence of heart unto my Lord," 1 Samuel 25; she meant, he should never have cause to repent that he was kept from shedding blood. Thus mayest thou plead with God and say, O Lord, when I shall with saints and angels be praising thy pardoning grace in heaven, it will not grieve thee that thy mercy kept thee from shedding my blood, damning my soul in hell. William Gurnall.

Verse 9. When the Lord's people are brought very low, let them not look for a lifting up or relief except from God only; therefore say they here, "Help us, O Lord." Such as have laid hold on God for salvation promised in the covenant, may also look for particular deliveries out of particular troubles, as appendices of the main benefit of salvation; therefore, "Help us, O God of our salvation," say they. When men do ask anything, the granting whereof may glorify God, they may confidently expect to have it; and in special when God may be so glorified, and his people may also be preserved and comforted: "Help us (say they) for the glory of thy name: and deliver us." As the conscience of sin useth to step in oftener between us and mercy, so must we call oftener for remission of sin; for earnest affection can double and treble the same petition without babbling: "Deliver us, and purge away our sins." It is the glory of the Lord to forget sin, and when remission of sins is prayed for according to God's promise, the Lord's glory is engaged for the helping of faith to obtain it: "Purge away our sins, for thy name's sake." David Dickson.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 9.

  • A threefold prayer.
    1. An encouraging title: "God of our salvation."
    2. A victorious plea.
  • Verse 9.

  • The Prayer. "Help us," etc.
    1. Purge away sin.
    2. Deliver is from our troubles.
    3. Help us to serve thee in future.
      1. The Plea.
      2. For thy name's sake.
      3. The glory of thy name.
      4. The glory of thy name as our salvation. The order in both cases is inverted.