Psalm 79 was written in part as an example for every believer.  The temple is mentioned in verse 1, meaning a physical building, while in the church age every believer is a temple where God dwells.  If you are like me, sometimes the holy temple of our bodies can get “defiled” when we at times lose the battle with temptation, anger, harsh words, and even apathy.  But Jesus won the war and every believers’ salvation is secure even though we do lose smaller battles, but did we fight a good fight with God’s weapons?  Unbelievers love to treat us with “scorn” (verse 4) when we stumble, but we can also model to unbelievers a humble, repentant heart quick to admit wrong-doing.
Verse 6 has the writer asking God to pour out His Wrath on unbelievers.  I do feel a little puzzled with that verse; after all, isn’t God all loving according to John 3:16?  Well, yes, but John 3 also mentions that only believers will escape God’s holy, righteous, and well-deserved Wrath and Judgment. (We get the non-smoking rooms in the after-life, as a wise man once said). This verse sounds a lot like Revelation 6:10 where believers in heaven ask God to unleash His long-time, held-back fury.  Jesus Himself opens the seals to unleash it!  The Good News is that no one need suffer forever:  God has made a way to pull them from the fire as it were (Jude 1:23), through His Son for all who believe and receive Christ.  So God is ready to punish, but even more ready to forgive and not punish.
Verse 9 makes it clear that the destruction that Israel is experiencing was brought on by God as a result of their sin.  Applying that to our own lives, we know that believers cannot practice immorality daily as a life-style without God tearing down the walls of this temple of ours, our own bodies.  Hebrews 12:6 says God scourges and chastises every believer because He loves us.  So I challenge you to read Psalm 79 again and apply it to yourself; because we know that everything written in the Old Testament was for an example for us (see 1 Corinthians 10:11).  Finally, join me in praying through Psalm 79 as a prayer of repentance:  Father, the nations have invaded me, they have turned me to rubble, they have defiled this temple of my body.  Forgive me because of Your Son’s blood, shed for me.

by David Marshall

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