Posted in Hiding His Word

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart – Psalm 80 (a flock, a people, a vine)

Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

 Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

 Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

~ Psalms 80:3, 7, 19 KJV

 

Yesterday I read Psalm 80 in the One Year Bible, and I continued studying it today. One of the greatest joys of my life is studying the Word of God and I hope you find this little bit of study as interesting as I did.

This Psalm is written by Asaph, one of David’s chief musicians. Like David, he was a skilled singer and poet. Psalm 80 is a prayer to God on behalf of Israel and Samaria after they were taken captive by Assyria. I find it interesting and take note when the Word repeats Itself as It does in this passage of Scripture. I also am always looking for similarities and differences in these type of passages.

Similarities –

I see that in every one of these passages Asaph uses the phrase “turn us again.” Turn us again means to “restore us to our former state of blessing and fellowship with the Lord.”  He asks that God cause His face to shine. The “shining of His face” reminds me of Numbers 6:24-26 –

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

 And finally, Asaph prayed so that the people would be saved.

Differences –

It takes a little extra digging to see the differences other than the different names of God. But if we look at the passage in its entirety, we can see that when calling on God, not only does the writer use different names, but also different images to describe Israel, and he makes three different requests that go along with the similar one for salvation.

  1. Psalm 80:1-3

Image: Israel as the flock of sheep.

Request:  Save Your flock. The request here is that the Lord might lead His people through their current crisis as He led them safely through the wilderness, by the Ark and the Cloud.

Name: “O God”

  1. Psalm 80:4-7

Image: Israel as God’s people

Israelites were God’s people, but the Lord was angry with them. During Israel’s wilderness wandering God provided bread from heaven and water from the rock, but the people weren’t satisfied with His provision. They were no longer walking in victory, and this kindled the Lord’s anger toward them.

Request:  Pity Your people.

Name: “O God of hosts.” (He is God of the armies of heaven and earth)

  1. Psalm 80:8-19

Image: Israel as the vine.

The main idea is that Israel is God’s own people, His vine. He planted them in Canaan, and He alone can protect and deliver them. As long as the people obeyed the Lord, the vine grew and covered more and more of the land. But the vine disobeyed the Lord and produced worthless fruit, and so they felt the hand of the Lord against them. He withdrew His protection and permitted the enemy to enter the land and ruin the vineyard.

Request:  Revive the vine.

Asaph prayed that the Lord might forgive His people as they called upon Him and confessed their sins. He asked that God once again bless His people.

This reminds me of 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Name: “O Lord God of hosts.” (Lord is the name “Jehovah” which is the covenant name of God. He was appealing to the covenant).

Prayer

Almighty God, Captain of the armies of heaven and earth, my Shepherd – I come to You today, and I thank You for Your Word and Your reminder that like Asaph we are to intercede for our nation. I ask You Father to forgive us our sins. Forgive us for our disobedience. Forgive us for our neglect of You and Your commands. Forgive us for our arrogance and pride. Forgive our nation for allowing the shedding of innocent blood through abortion.  Forgive us for too often forgetting those persecuted for their faith in Jesus; for not remembering and helping the poorest of the poor that are without food, shelter, and protection in this land and abroad. Bless those greatly that are obedient to love as You love. Forgive our land, and I ask that You turn us again to You. Cause Your face to shine upon us again Jesus, that this nation of the United States of America and all of the world (every tribe and every tongue) that You love and created shall be saved. I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen!