O Lord, Be Gracious to Us
Ah, you destroyer,
who yourself have not been destroyed,
whom none has betrayed!
When you have ceased to destroy,
you will be destroyed;
and when you have finished betraying,
they will betray you.
The tables will be turned: the destructiveness and treachery of the Assyrians will come back upon them. God will answer his people’s prayers for deliverance.
2 O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you.
Be our arm every morning,
our salvation in the time of trouble.
3 At the tumultuous noise peoples flee;
when you lift yourself up, nations are scattered,
4 and your spoil is gathered as the caterpillar gathers;
as locusts leap, it is leapt upon.
5 The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;
he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness,
6 and he will be the stability of your times,
abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.
Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Verses 7-9 revert to the time when King Hezekiah sent ambassadors of peace to Sennacherib and was told to pay a fine of three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold (2 Kings 18:13-16). But even this did not succeed in buying off the Assyrian. He marched against Judah, leaving a trail of havoc and suffering.
The envoys from Judah are weeping bitterly because of the failure of their mission. The Assyrian has broken his word by invading Judah. The most scenic places are now scenes of desolation.
7 Behold, their heroes cry in the streets;
the envoys of peace weep bitterly.
8 The highways lie waste;
the traveler ceases.
Covenants are broken;
cities are despised;
there is no regard for man.
9 The land mourns and languishes;
Lebanon is confounded and withers away;
Sharon is like a desert,
and Bashan and Carmel shake off their leaves.
10 “Now I will arise,” says the Lord,
“now I will lift myself up;
now I will be exalted.
11 You conceive chaff; you give birth to stubble;
your breath is a fire that will consume you.
12 And the peoples will be as if burned to lime,
like thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire.”
Everyone who is evil will be destroyed by their own doings. God will be exalted by exposing the wicked for what they are and bringing them to justice.
13 Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;
and you who are near, acknowledge my might.
14 The sinners in Zion are afraid;
trembling has seized the godless:
“Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”
15 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
who despises the gain of oppressions,
who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe,
who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed
and shuts his eyes from looking on evil,
16 he will dwell on the heights;
his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks;
his bread will be given him; his water will be sure.
So here is what to do to be secure and satisfied:
1. Walk righteously.
2. Speak what is right.
3. Reject gain from extortion.
4. Refuse to accept bribes.
5. Walk away from plots of murder.
6. Close your eyes rather than look at evil.
17 Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty;
they will see a land that stretches afar.
18 Your heart will muse on the terror:
“Where is he who counted, where is he who weighed the tribute?
Where is he who counted the towers?”
19 You will see no more the insolent people,
the people of an obscure speech that you cannot comprehend,
stammering in a tongue that you cannot understand.
20 Behold Zion, the city of our appointed feasts!
Your eyes will see Jerusalem,
an untroubled habitation, an immovable tent,
whose stakes will never be plucked up,
nor will any of its cords be broken.
21 But there the Lord in majesty will be for us
a place of broad rivers and streams,
where no galley with oars can go,
nor majestic ship can pass.
22 For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver;
the Lord is our king; he will save us.
James 4:12 (NIV)
There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
23 Your cords hang loose;
they cannot hold the mast firm in its place
or keep the sail spread out.
Then prey and spoil in abundance will be divided;
even the lame will take the prey.
24 And no inhabitant will say, “I am sick”;
the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.
Verse 2 today prays to God, “Be gracious to us.” Psalm 145:8 promises that “The Lord is gracious and compassionate.” So we can rest in his steadfast love, his everlasting mercy, and his divine kindness. Do not deprive yourself of the graciousness of the Lord! Rest in God! Click HERE to hear Bridget Moses’ “The Lord Is Gracious and Compassionate.”