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How Long, O Lord?

A Psalm of Asaph.

1O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple;
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
2They have given the bodies of your servants
to the birds of the heavens for food,
the flesh of your faithful to the beasts of the earth.
3They have poured out their blood like water
all around Jerusalem,
and there was no one to bury them.
4We have become a taunt to our neighbors,
mocked and derided by those around us.

5How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
6Pour out your anger on the nations
that do not know you,
and on the kingdoms
that do not call upon your name!
7For they have devoured Jacob
and laid waste his habitation.

8Do not remember against us our former iniquities;11Or the iniquities of former generations
let your compassion come speedily to meet us,
for we are brought very low.
9Help us, O God of our salvation,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us, and atone for our sins,
for your name's sake!
10Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants
be known among the nations before our eyes!

11Let the groans of the prisoners come before you;
according to your great power, preserve those doomed to die!
12Return sevenfold into the lap of our neighbors
the taunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord!
13But we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
will give thanks to you forever;
from generation to generation we will recount your praise.


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Verses 1–5

God is complained to: whither should children go but to a Father able and willing to help them? See what a change sin made in the holy city, when the heathen were suffered to pour in upon them. God's own people defiled it by their sins, therefore he suffered their enemies to defile it by their insolence. They desired that God would be reconciled. Those who desire God's favour as better than life, cannot but dread his wrath as worse than death. In every affliction we should first beseech the Lord to cleanse away the guilt of our sins; then he will visit us with his tender mercies.

Verses 6–13

Those who persist in ignorance of God, and neglect of prayer, are the ungodly. How unrighteous soever men were, the Lord was righteous in permitting them to do what they did. Deliverances from trouble are mercies indeed, when grounded upon the pardon of sin; we should therefore be more earnest in prayer for the removal of our sins than for the removal of afflictions. They had no hopes but from God's mercies, his tender mercies. They plead no merit, they pretend to none, but, Help us for the glory of thy name; pardon us for thy name's sake. The Christian forgets not that he is often bound in the chain of his sins. The world to him is a prison; sentence of death is passed upon him, and he knows not how soon it may be executed. How fervently should he at all times pray, O let the sighing of a prisoner come before thee, according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die! How glorious will the day be, when, triumphant over sin and sorrow, the church beholds the adversary disarmed for ever! while that church shall, from age to age, sing the praises of her great Shepherd and Bishop, her King and her God.




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