Psalm 80

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!

Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land. The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches; it sent out its branches to the sea, and its shoots to the River.

Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit? The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.

Turn again, O God of hosts; look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, the stock that your right hand planted. They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of your countenance.

But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself. Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name. Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved. Psalm 80

Psalm 80 is a plea for help. As such, it helps us put Christmas in context.

Turn to a Bible commentary and it will probably tell you that Psalm 80 is a psalm of lament (a plea for God’s saving help) written in the face of a military defeat (perhaps written out of the north of Israel in the aftermath of the Assyrian conquest.) Wherever it comes from, whenever it was written, the refrain is familiar to any of us who have been around the block a time or two: Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Christmas is right around the corner. Today that word feels just a little bit polluted to me. I hear the word, close my eyes, and see this….

christmas-scene

And in seeing that, I’m afraid that I’m missing the point.

Today I needed Psalm 80 to remind me of centuries of pain, the cries of God’s people for rescue. The hope that God would do something, anything, to make life better. That God would save. That God would rescue. That God would restore. Those are the prayers of Christmas, answered in the birth of Jesus.

We have all prayed such prayers. We will again. And when we do, we will need someone to remind us that Jesus is right there beside us, joining us in our struggles, and leading us through them to life.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, in every age, and certainly today, people are dying and crying for help. Every week we hear of lives lost to hatred, terrorism, war, and disease. Turn your face toward us and help those hurting know your presence. Our hope is in you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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3 Responses to “Psalm 80”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I am awed at how timely this Psalm is. And indeed, we have allowed Christmas–the word, anyway, to become polluted! Iam praying this Psalm thru the new year! Thanks you, Marilyn Pickard.

  2. Sharon L. Says:

    Thank you are inadequate words for your letting God work through you to bring us the devotions. They are balm to hurting souls and a challenge to us to unfailingly be about God’s business of bringing His love to those who need help and mercy.
    God bless you and your family as you celebrate His birth.

  3. Dave Aemstrong Says:

    A Blessed Christ-mass to all!

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