READ: Psalms 79-81
THINK: Have you ever heard the expression, "It's always darkest before the dawn"? That's actually true. After the moon has set and starlight has faded, there comes a deep darkness that immediately precedes the sunrise. This principle of nature is also true in a spiritual sense. Often, the darkest hours of despair and desperation precede times of great spiritual refreshment and renewal. That's particularly true if the dark times drive God's people to an intense hunger for holiness, a humble confession of sin and a desperate desire for God to renew the power of His presence in their lives. So don't give up just before daybreak. During the dark times, keep looking for God's light.
RESPOND: What destruction is the writer referring to in Psalm 79, and who was responsible for it? (See 79:1-13 note.) Why did God allow the destruction to occur? What motivated the psalm writer to plead for God's forgiveness for His people and judgment against their enemies? (See 78:1-13 note.) In what ways is it evident that the writer was concerned about God's honor above all else (79:9-10,13)? What does it mean to "intercede" in prayer? (See 80:1-19 note.) What's the focus of the prayer in Psalm 80? What was the people's situation at the time and why? (See 80:1-19 note, subpoint 1.) In what way does Psalm 80 reflect an attitude and outlook that's necessary for God's people to experience times of spiritual revival? Why is God so persistent in His warnings against worshiping other "gods" (81:8-10)? In what ways do people today follow false gods? What does it mean that God gives people over "to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices" (81:12), and why does He sometimes do this? What will God do if His wayward people listen and turn back to Him (81:13-15)?
PRAY: Give thanks for God's mercy and forgiveness. Ask Him to help you develop an attitude of true humility. Pray that God is honored above all else in your life. Pray for spiritual renewal in your life and your church.
ACT: Make a conscious effort to honor God in everything you say and do today, so that Jesus' character is evident in your attitudes, conversations and actions. As you become aware of people's needs throughout the day, take brief moments to intercede for them, asking God to reveal himself through their specific needs and situations.
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