September 6, 2017
Psalms 79:10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
When God created the world and everything in it, He did so as an expression of His nature and glory. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20 that since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
But God’s relational attributes are specifically and exclusively revealed in Jesus Christ, and subsequently seen in the lives of people who have been transformed by His grace. When those who know Him fail to live out the grace of God in their lives, the world is justified in asking the question, “Where is their God?”
I do not intend to place all the total responsibility for the world’s rejection of God on Christians, for the unsaved people of the world have made their own choices and are responsible for their own responses to the knowledge of God. They will be held accountable. However, we as Christians must admit that we play a role in this to some degree.
The nation of Israel had fallen into sin and rebellion against God. They had chosen idolatry and pleasure over the pursuit of holiness. In His eternal paternal love for them God disciplined them to draw them back into right relationship. But while the discipline endured, the nation was shamed before the world, and that brought shame to the name of Jehovah. Asaph cries out to God to end the punishment for the sake of His glorious name.
God knows the perfect timing to restore His fame, and eventually he did, but it is the attitude of Asaph that fascinates me. What is our response to our culture and to God when the very existence of God is being brought into question? When the world is saying, “Where is their God?”, we should respond as Asaph did in this Psalm.
First, our hearts must be broken by the attitudes of the world towards God. How can we who love Him so dearly not be utterly conflicted by the lack of love for Him by the world? Our hearts and minds cannot be at peace when we know that the world is being convinced that God is not relevant or necessary. We cannot find rest while we know that others around us are being led to their eternal destruction by the philosophies of secular humanism. We are driven to our knees before our Father in heaven and cry out for Him to display His power and glory to the lost people of the world for the sake of His glorious Name.
We would never allow anyone to unjustly accuse and belittle our spouse or our children. We would quickly rise to their defense because of our love for them. How much more should we be willing to rise up against the false accusations of the world against Almighty God whom we love.
Second, we must come before the Father and acknowledge that it is our own sins that have, to a large degree, caused God’s shame in front of the world. Asaph says, Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake. (Psalms 79:9)
Two things have happened as a result of our choices to live according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit of God: one, we have ceased to live in the power and deliverance of the Name of Jesus; and two, we have brought on ourselves and our nation the discipline of God against sin. When we, the children of God and witnesses of His transforming power, cease to be the living examples of that power, then the world has the right to ask, “Where is their God?” When the sins of God’s people are dealt with by a holy and loving Father who disciplines His children, the world interprets our struggles and suffering as the absence of God.
“O Father, forgive us for our sins and for bringing shame to your name. Restore unto us the fullness of your presence so that our lives may be the living example of your power and glory.”
Finally, we must acknowledge to the Father that we will live differently from this point forward. No more will we choose sin and self over surrender to the Savior. We will seek to honor and bring praise to self no longer. We will, with Asaph, declare that we are the sheep of God’s pasture and we will praise Him forever. We commit with every ounce of our being and every aspect of our lives to bring glory to His Name alone.
Then the question of God’s existence and His personal involvement in human affairs will be moot, and all those who asked it will be mute. The power and salvation of Jesus Christ will be seen in us, and the Name of God will be glorified.