Sighs and Songs


Psa. 79:1 O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;

they have defiled your holy temple;

they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.

Psa. 79:13          But we your people, the sheep of your pasture,

will give thanks to you forever;

from generation to generation we will recount your praise.

About a year ago I got a fever that lasted about 5 days. During the day it was manageable, a little bit of a temperature some aches and pains. Almost like clockwork my tonsils would begin to hurt by 9pm. By 10pm I could barely talk and by 11pm I knew another sleepless night with high temperatures and shivers was upon me. It was in these moments that I had some of my best prayer times. They were not very flowery, well put together, or carefully constructed dialogues with God. In fact, if the sighs ever became words, the only words I uttered were O, God. This simplest prayer was probably some of the most sincere and heartfelt prayers I have ever prayed.

This Psalm falls somewhere after 586 BCE. The very beginning of the Psalm talks about the destruction of the Temple. The Psalmist feels powerless before his enemies. Even worse, he feels powerless before God. The Almighty creator of the heavens seems to be powerless to prevent his sacred temple from being defiled. The psalmist pours out his prayers, his desperation and even anger in prayer. He says things that no self-respecting, religious person will utter. “I wish you would pay my enemies back sevenfold.”(v12).

Gloriously, after a heart wrenching prayer, the psalmist no longer seeks revenge, or self pity he seeks only songs. “We will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.”(v13) The psalmist’s sigh cocoons and morphs into a beautiful song that will last from generation to generation





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