Wednesday, December 23: Psalm 80- Broken yet calling out.

Ancient Israel is a sad tale filled with lacking faithfulness and chasing after foreign gods. Over and over Israel strayed. Over and over the Lord called them home. They would return to abandon God again.

But the preserved prayers of God’s people sing a different story. Imperfect, straying, but always calling out again to the Lord. Israel’s psalms always return to the Lord.

Today’s Psalm is evidence. Despite the straying and refusal to listen to God’s call to return through all kinds of calamities and troubles, the psalmists leads Israel to sing and pray:

Restore us, O God;

make your face shine on us,

that we may be saved (3).

Three times this refrain is sung, verses 3, 7 and 19 with a minor stylistic change in verse 7 where O God is replaced by God Almighty.

This refrain calls out to the Lord in a reverent and beseeching manor. At its heart it cries to God to bless the nation. Make your face shine on us echoes the great blessing Aaron pronounced over Israel.

The LORD bless you

and keep you;

 the LORD make his face shine on you

and be gracious to you;

the LORD turn his face toward you

and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26).

God’s face shining, God smiling on them was concomitant with His blessing.

Asaph invited the people to call out to the Lord in their distress.

This meditation reminds me that God is my refuge and my strength. God is my help in times of trouble. Rather than cursing God, turning from God when bad things happen, this Psalm invites me to turn to God and call out to the Almighty for His blessing.

O, Lord, God Almighty, I fall before You…

Bless me and keep me; smile upon me and let Your grace flow; turn to look at me and bring Your peace, Your wonder, Your presence into my life…

I pray this, Lord, so that Your presence might flow through me to the people around me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


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