Turn Us Again ~ Psalm 80

Lamb, barskefranck, Pixabay

Psalm 80
To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim-Eduth, A Psalm of Asaph

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock;
Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.
Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up Thy strength,
and come and save us.

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

O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt Thou be angry against the prayer of Thy people?
Thou feedest them with the bread of tears,
and givest them tears to drink in great measure.
Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbors,
and our enemies laugh among themselves.

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

Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt:
Thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.
Thou preparedst room before it,
and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.
The hills were covered with the shadow of it,
and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars.
She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river.
Why hast Thou then broken down her hedges,
so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her?
The boar out of the wood doth waste it,
and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.
Return, we beseech Thee, O God of hosts:
look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;
And the vineyard which Thy right hand hath planted,
and the branch that Thou madest strong for Thyself.
It is burned with fire, it is cut down:
they perish at the rebuke of Thy countenance.
Let Thy hand be upon the man of Thy right hand,
upon the son of man whom Thou madest strong for Thyself.
So will not we go back from Thee:
quicken us, and we will call upon Thy name.

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

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My study today focuses on only three of the verses above.

Verse 3: “Turn us again, O God, and cause Thy face to shine, and we shall be saved.”
Verse 7: “Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause Thy face to shine, and we shall be saved.”
Verse 19: “Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, and cause Thy face to shine, and we shall be saved.”

As a refrain, the sentiment is repeated throughout the psalm, but God is addressed differently in every case. Why?

Turn us again… Verse 1 sets the tone for the entire psalm by addressing God as the Shepherd of Israel. This phrase turn us again suggests sheep that have gone astray and need to be brought back into the fold. “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isa. 54:6). The psalmist three times admits that we, like sheep, are dumb. We have gone astray and do not know enough to come back to the Lord on our own. We need Him to seek and to save us because left to ourselves, we will not seek Him.

O God… Elohiym. He is the Supreme God, and there is none else.
O God of hosts… This indicates a greater earnestness, a deeper sense of the need for God to intervene.
O Lord God of hosts… Jehovah is the Jewish national name for God. Now the psalmist is making it personal. “You are the Supreme God, the only God, You are our God, and we need You.”

Cause Thy face to shine… As a young girl, when I was in trouble, I always looked to see my daddy smile. When he smiled, I knew all was forgiven and the fellowship was restored. That is what the psalmist is asking for here. He wants God to smile upon them once more as a token that their sins have been forgiven and the fellowship between Him and them has been restored.

And we shall be saved… When God brings us back into fellowship with Him and allows us to see His beaming smile, then we can rest assured that our salvation is settled and secure.

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that ye have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.

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Photo courtesy of Barskefranck on Pixabay

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