This psalm is slow motion from the Babylonian Captivity after the destruction of Jerusalem to the Jewish Holocaust to the Genocide of Christians now in the Middle East. The cries of God's people are still reaching His ears. Some think that this was written by the weeping prophet Jeremiah since one of the verses is quoted in Jeremiah 10:25. Nevertheless, it was written after David's time.
"O God, the nations have invaded Thine inheritance;
They have defiled Thy holy temple;
They have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
The flesh of Thy godly ones to the beasts of the earth.
They have poured out their blood like water round abut Jerusalem....
We have become a reproach to our neighbors,
A scoffing and derision to those around us.
How long, O Lord?"
It is a sad, sad lament. Their neighbors were the Philistines, the Ammonites, and Moabites and others "all gloried in the subjugation of this people; and their insults to them were mixed with blasphemies against God."
"Do not remember the iniquities of our forefathers against us;
(i.e.the golden calf)
Let Thy compassion come quickly to meet us;
For we are brought very low.
Help us, O God of our salvation,
for the glory of Thy name;
And deliver us, and forgive us our sins,
for Thy name's sake.
Why should the nations say,
'Where is their God?'"
Like the old joke goes as the hunter runs from the angry bear,
"If you won't help me, please don't help the bear."
If God doesn't help His Hebrew children, at least don't help the enemy.
The creep toward immorality and idolatry from the top down led the nation of Israel to this point, flagrant sin and its consequences. We had a cat once that liked to sit on the edge of the bathtub. Her tail would slowly sink down into the nice warm water without noticing. Suddenly, when she lifted it out and it was hit by the cold air and found to be soaked, she did the perfect wet cat panic routine. Nobody made her do it. She did it to herself.
Sometimes that's the picture of us, individually and as a nation becoming comfortable with lukewarm and even blatant immorality in our spiritual lives and with those who we accept to rule over us. It is a slow slide into sin as described in James 1:I3-16...
"Let no one say when he is tempted,
'I am being tempted by God';
for God cannot be tempted by evil,
and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
But each one is tempted when he is carried away
and enticed by his own lust.
Then when lust has conceived,
it gives birth to sin;
And when sin is accomplished,
it brings forth death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers."
I finally read it in print how politically many are attracted to and happy to elect to leadership those who are immoral because it give them an excuse for their own lack of godliness. We are willing to elect one who says with their lips that they are Christian and wave a Bible but who has also said they've never had anything to repent of, one who has bragged about his gross immorality. I have seen it in churches who have found themselves with immoral pastors, but stick by them because of their own sins, such as adultery, making them more excusable, easier to be comfortable in their sins for those living double lives. We can't pretend any passage of Scripture doesn't apply to us. There is something to say every single time as encouragement or warning.
It's His way or the highway
When it all boils down, it is not about us. We deserve the punishment of for our sin. It is about God's glory, His compassion for His name's sake. His name's sake is the very character of God, who He is. Bless be to God, His character is love which is compassionate and willing to forgive. Sometimes we must bear the full brunt of the consequences of our sin, but when we call upon Him, He will hear. He will answer. He will not forget the blood of His godly ones who have been martyred. He is still our Father, the Good Shepherd who has laid down His life for His sheep.
After such a dire, desperate prayer calling out to God in this Psalm, they remember...
"So we Thy people and the sheep of Thy pasture
Will give thanks to Thee forever;
To all generations we will tell of Thy praise."
Sheep are not fit for fight or flight.
They don't have the brains or the brawn.
They need a shepherd.
Does that sound like anyone you know.