URC Daily Devotion 30th December 2018

Psalm 79

LORD, the nations have invaded
and attacked your heritage;
They defiled your holy temple—
crushed Jerusalem in rage.

They have given your saints’ bodies
to the birds of prey as meat;
And the corpses of your servants
to wild animals to eat.

They have poured out blood like water
all around Jerusalem—
Bodies everywhere, and no one
to give burial to them.

We are objects of derision
to the neighbours of our land;
Scorn, reproach and degradation
circle us on every hand.

LORD, how long? Will your displeasure
still run on and never tire?
How long will your jealous anger
burn like all-consuming fire?

Pour your fury on the nations
that refuse to seek your face,
For they have uprooted Jacob
and destroyed his dwelling-place.

Charge us not with the transgressions
of our forebears long ago;
May your mercy come to meet us—
you have brought us very low.

Help us, LORD, our God and Saviour,
for the glory of your name.
For your name’s sake come and save us;
take away our sin and shame.

Why should the surrounding nations
say to us, “Where is your God?”
Make the peoples know your vengeance
for your servants’ outpoured blood.

May the groans of every prisoner
come before your throne on high;
By your arm outstretched in power
save all those condemned to die.

Lord, remember how our neighbours
treat you with contempt and scorn;
And into their laps deliver
sev’nfold judgment in return.

Then shall we, the sheep you pasture,
worship and adore your name;
And through every generation
your unending praise proclaim.

The editors of Sing Psalms suggest the tune Cross of Jesus.



What a delightfully cheerful Psalm for the Sunday after Christmas!

If nothing else it is a reminder, if we need it, that life goes on; that the shininess of Christmas celebrations and that of the New Year in a few day’s time, is not shared by all of us. The groaning and suffering that pours from the Psalm is all too evident around the world.

Whilst some of us are lucky enough to get a break from the reality of the world’s pain, others live with it every day.

The question ‘Lord, how long?’ has leapt out as being particularly pertinent just before we begin a New Year. We are used to making personal, individual promises to lose weight, finally get to the gym, or use social media less, but what about making promises for our community and world?

When we ask ‘Lord, how long?’, we know from Jorge Maldonado’s song ‘Sent by the Lord’ that ‘the task is mine(ours) to do’.
What about New Year promises to care for creation, recycle more, road-rage less, smile more, care more, pray and prophesy about God’s Good News more?

What about every-day promises to learn about things we don’t understand more, talk rather than judge more, smile at others more, seek peace more, walk the way of Jesus more?

It can all sound huge and maybe beyond us.

We may ask ‘where is our God?’ in 2019 but start small and in the knowledge that God is right alongside believing in us and giving us strength to follow.


Inspired by love and anger,
disturbed by need and pain,
Informed of God’s own bias
we ask Him once again:
“How long must some folk suffer?
How long can few folk mind?
How long dare vain self-interest
turn prayer and pity blind?”

God asks, “Who will go for me?
Who will extend my reach?
And who, when few will listen,
will prophesy and preach?
And who, when few bid welcome,
will offer all they know?
And who, when few dare follow,
will walk the road I show?”

John Bell and Graham Maule

Today’s Writer

The Rev’d Martin Knight is Minister of St Paul’s URC, South Croydon

Bible Version


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