79 Our God, foreign nations have taken your land, disgraced your temple, and left Jerusalem in ruins. 2 They have fed the bodies of your servants to flesh-eating birds; your loyal people are food for savage animals. 3 All Jerusalem is covered with their blood, and there is no one left to bury them. 4 Every nation around us sneers and makes fun.
5 Our Lord, will you keep on being angry? Will your angry feelings keep flaming up like fire? 6 Get angry with those nations that don’t know you and won’t worship you! 7 They have gobbled down Jacob’s descendants and left the land in ruins.
8 Don’t make us pay for the sins of our ancestors. Have pity and come quickly! We are completely helpless. 9 Our God, you keep us safe. Now help us! Rescue us. Forgive our sins and bring honor to yourself.
10 Why should nations ask us, “Where is your God?” Let us and the other nations see you take revenge for your servants who died a violent death.
11 Listen to the prisoners groan! Let your mighty power save all who are sentenced to die. 12 Each of those nations sneered at you, our Lord. Now let others sneer at them, seven times as much. 13 Then we, your people, will always thank you. We are like sheep with you as our shepherd, and all generations will hear us praise you.
(A psalm by Asaph for the music leader. To the tune “Lilies of the Agreement.”)
Help Our Nation
80 Shepherd of Israel, you lead the descendants of Joseph, and you sit on your throne above the winged creatures.[a] Listen to our prayer and let your light shine 2 for the tribes of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh. Save us by your power.
3 Our God, make us strong again! Smile on us and save us.
4 Lord God All-Powerful, how much longer will the prayers of your people make you angry? 5 You gave us tears for food, and you made us drink them by the bowlful. 6 Because of you, our enemies who live nearby laugh and joke about us. 7 But if you smile on us, we will be saved.
8 We were like a grapevine you brought out of Egypt. You chased other nations away and planted us here. 9 Then you cleared the ground, and we put our roots deep, spreading over the land. 10 Shade from this vine covered the mountains. Its branches climbed the mighty cedars 11 and stretched to the sea; its new growth reached to the river.[b]
12 Our Lord, why have you torn down the wall from around the vineyard? You let everyone who walks by pick the grapes. 13 Now the vine is gobbled down by pigs from the forest and other wild animals.
14 God All-Powerful, please do something! Look down from heaven and see what’s happening to this vine. 15 With your own hands you planted its roots, and you raised it as your very own.
16 Enemies chopped the vine down and set it on fire. Now show your anger and destroy them. 17 But help the one who sits at your right side,[c] the one you raised to be your own. 18 Then we will never turn away. Put new life into us, and we will worship you.
19 Lord God All-Powerful, make us strong again! Smile on us and save us.
80.1winged creatures: Two winged creatures made of gold were on the top of the sacred chest and were symbols of the Lord’s throne on earth (see Exodus 25.18).
80.11the sea. . . the river: The Mediterranean Sea and the Euphrates River were part of the ideal boundaries for Israel.
11 Am I saying that God has turned his back on his people? Certainly not! I am one of the people of Israel, and I myself am a descendant of Abraham from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not turn his back on his chosen people. Don’t you remember reading in the Scriptures how Elijah complained to God about the people of Israel? 3 He said, “Lord, they killed your prophets and destroyed your altars. I am the only one left, and now they want to kill me.”
4 But the Lord told Elijah, “I still have seven thousand followers who have not worshiped Baal.” 5 It is the same way now. God was kind to the people of Israel, and so a few of them are still his followers. 6 This happened because of God’s undeserved kindness and not because of anything they have done. It could not have happened except for God’s kindness.
7 This means that only a chosen few of the people of Israel found what all of them were searching for. And the rest of them were stubborn, 8 just as the Scriptures say,
“God made them so stupid that their eyes are blind, and their ears are still deaf.”
9 Then David said,
“Turn their meals into bait for a trap, so that they will stumble and be given what they deserve. 10 Blindfold their eyes! Don’t let them see. Bend their backs beneath a burden that will never be lifted.”
Gentiles Will Be Saved
11 Do I mean that the people of Israel fell, never to get up again? Certainly not! Their failure made it possible for the Gentiles to be saved, and this will make the people of Israel jealous. 12 But if the rest of the world’s people were helped so much by Israel’s sin and loss, they will be helped even more by their full return.
13 I am now speaking to you Gentiles, and as long as I am an apostle to you, I will take pride in my work. 14 I hope in this way to make some of my own people jealous enough to be saved. 15 When Israel rejected God,[a] the rest of the people in the world were able to turn to him. So when God makes friends with Israel, it will be like bringing the dead back to life. 16 If part of a batch of dough is made holy by being offered to God, then all of the dough is holy. If the roots of a tree are holy, the rest of the tree is holy too.
17 You Gentiles are like branches of a wild olive tree that were made to be part of a cultivated olive tree. You have taken the place of some branches that were cut away from it. And because of this, you enjoy the blessings that come from being part of that cultivated tree. 18 But don’t think you are better than the branches that were cut away. Just remember that you are not supporting the roots of that tree. Its roots are supporting you.
11.15When Israel rejected God: Or “When Israel was rejected.”
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