80:1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
80:2 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!
80:3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
80:4 O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
80:5 You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.
80:6 You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.
80:7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Jesus is our true Shepherd and protector. He is always there to lead, guide and protect us. However, as Christians, we are to live a life that is honouring and pleasing to Him. Our lives are not to be filled with our own wordly desires and try to live for Christ at the same time. We cannot love both God and man. It is not enough to simply say that we love God but show it through on going devotion to His word and having that be reflected in our every day lives.
This Psalm is referring to those who choose to try and live a double life. The Psalmist is crying out to God because there was indwelling sin that was not being willing to give up. This is a cry of mercy and grace. The Psalmist prayers is not being answered because indwelling sin has overtaken their lives and there is a refusal to give it up. When God is displeased with His children, there is an expected response of sorrow over their sin. In this case the nation of Israel was being taken over by their enemies. The Psalmist was attempting to somehow win over God’s favour which was resulted in being futile and unsuccessful.
We cannot earn God’s favour through our own actions. There is no forgiveness of sin that is not given by God and not accompanied by His Grace. However, there is always hope for the believer. If we come to God with an open and honest heart, His hand of forgiveness is ready to be extended to us.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
This is a complex psalm because it depicts a retributive time in Israel’s history. Clearly one of Israel’s foes has overpowered them when this was written. It is no wonder that this psalm is often read during the Passover, when Israel was captive in Egypt. But more than Israel’s captivity, this psalm about deliverance that can only come from God.
God has been delivering His people from the beginning of time. First He delivered Israel from the hands of the Egyptians. Next He delivered them from the Philistines and allowed Saul and David to setup a united kingdom. After the Philistines God delivered Israel from the Arameans. After them He delivered them from the Akkadians and eventually the Babylonians. After the Babylonians it was the Greeks during the Maccabean period. After that Jesus came with a completely new type of deliverance. He delivered all man-kind from death and sin.
Thus, this simple psalm that pleaded for deliverance was one of many that the Lord was faithful to answer. Let us never doubt the deliverance of the Lord. Even when we find ourselves in the most insurmountable situations, even on death’s door, know that we will rise to new life in Christ in an eternal deliverance.
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