THE GOD OF OUR SALVATION
by Wayne S. Walker
"Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, for Your name’s sake!" (Psalm 79:9). Psalm 79 is identified as "A Psalm of Asaph," and the New King James editors gave it the heading, "A Dirge and a Prayer for Israel, Destroyed by Enemies." Most scholars seem to believe that it was written following the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of Judah by the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar, and the words certainly fit those events. It seems to be a prayer for God to save Israel from their calamities. The Psalmist asks three things.
"Help us." God did help Israel sending prophets during the captivity to encourage and guide them. God is always willing to help those who are faithful in service to Him. Even today, He tells us, "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of trace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:14-16).
"Deliver us." Israel was given over to their enemies because of rebellion, but God eventually delivered a remnant from captivity after they repented. God has also promised deliverance to His children in all generations. Jesus taught His disciples to pray, "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one…" (Matthew 6:13). This is one reason for the coming of Jesus, "who gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father" (Galatians 1:4).
"Provide atonement for our sins." The King James Version reads, "Purge away our sins." The reason why the Israelites were allowed to be taken captive was because of their sins. However, they eventually turned away from them and asked God to purge or cleanse them. We also have sinned (Romans 3:23). Yet God, through His love, grace, and mercy, provides a means whereby we can be purged or cleansed. "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). What a blessing it is that we can turn to the God of our salvation.