The Sighing of the Prisoner
Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die; ~Psalm 79:11
A sigh is when we let out our breath in an audible way to express disbelief, exasperation, frustration, sorrow, weariness, or relief. It is when our emotions have been building within and we let them out with a sigh. The background to Psalm 79 is after Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem, when many were killed and many were taken captive back to Babylon. The writer, Asaph, speaks of this psalm as the sighing of the prisoner.
We see the conquered.
“O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.” It is an awful feeling to be conquered, beaten, and taken captive. Asaph saw the defiling of the temple, the death of God’s servants, and the destruction of the walls and buildings. He described the destruction as heaps. There were so many people killed that he described the bloodshed as water round about Jerusalem. He uses the word “heathen” four times to describe who it was that conquered them. God’s people were conquered spiritually, financially, emotionally, and morally.
We see the crying.
“Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name.” Their predicament drove them to their knees and to utter desperation. They cried out for help. “Help us” is what we cry out when we are greatly imperiled and our life is at risk. They were at such a low point in life that they finally got their eyes back on the Lord. They wanted rescue and deliverance. The remnant that was still alive called on the Lord for help. It’s amazing when, after we have lost everything and have been downtrodden, we turn to God for help.
We see the confession.
“And deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake…. Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die.” Confession is acknowledging with all humility that we are wrong. They confessed their sins and asked for cleansing. They made a sigh of sorrow and acknowledged that only by the greatness of God’s power comes preservation. The sighing of the prisoner is the humble acknowledgement that a power greater than us is needed. Unless God does something for us, we know that we can’t make it.
We see the confidence.
“So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.” Their sighing resulted in faith. Instead of trusting in their ways, they committed their situation to God. For the first time in a long time, they were in submission as God’s people and as the sheep of His pasture. As sheep, we are dependent upon God to lead us to green pastures and beside the still waters. Sheep must trust their shepherd. Sheep must follow their shepherd. God’s people went from foolishness to fatalities to frustrations to fear to forgiveness to faith and then to fellowship.
Do you feel conquered by circumstances out of your control? Let your sighing lead you to trust and faith in God for your help. See God’s mercies and overshadowing in your situation, and give thanks to Him for His goodness.
Have a dependent God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Proverbs 16-18