Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Psalm 80 - "Restore Us O God"

LINK: Psalm 80

If you are reading this according to the Bible Book Club schedule: Happy Valentine's Day! It is so appropriate that this post is about renewal and restoration since celebrating this day can often bring renewal to love, and He is your first love! 

BACKGROUND

In this Psalm, Asaph (or one his sons) prays to the Lord, the Shepherd of His people, for revival and restoration of His "vine" (Israel). Many believe it was written by a descendant of Asaph and written around the time of the Assyrian Captivity of Israel, but I went ahead and kept it here during the time of the original Asaph since we are not certain when it was . 

It repeats this phrase three times, and it is the gist of the psalmist's prayer:


Restore us, O God; 
make your face shine upon us, 
that we may be saved. 
(80:3,7, 19)

In this psalm, Joseph represents the northern tribes and Benjamin represents the southern tribes. Also the "walls" referred to in the NIV version are better translated "hedges" (NASB) and do not refer to the city walls but the walls around the vineyard. 

The figure of Israel may have been prompted by Genesis 49:22 where Joseph is referred to as a "fruitful vine." It is also used in Isaiah 5:1-7; 27:2-6; Jeremiah 2:21; 12:10; and Hosea 10:1.

Scarlet Thread of Redemption:
Jesus spoke of Himself as a Vine (John 15:1, 5) for He, being the promised Seed, represented and fulfilled God’s purposes for Israel. Where she failed, He succeeded.  
(The Bible Knowledge Commentary (1:853))
Jesus restores our relationship with God through His death on the cross. May we always have a posture of restoration with our God through repentance and resting in Him.

REFLECTION (written in 2009)

I am writing this post on Friday, January 30, 2008 even though it won't post until February 8th because, after visiting with a friend from Indiana over the weekend, I will be going to the Oregon Coast for a time of restoration!

I read the refrain "Restore us, O LORD God Almighty" and knew that this was the word for my time there! I looked up the meaning of "restore" in the Webster's Dictionary. It means "to bring back to or put back into a former or original state: renew." 

I love synonyms! Here are some for the word "restore":
Renew, restore, refresh, renovate, rejuvenate mean to make like new. renew implies a restoration of what had become faded or disintegrated so that it seems like new 〈efforts to renew the splendor of the old castle>. restore implies a return to an original state after depletion or loss 〈restored a fine piece of furniture〉. refresh implies the supplying of something necessary to restore lost strength, animation, or power 〈a refreshing drink〉. renovate suggests a renewing by cleansing, repairing, or rebuilding 〈the apartment has been entirely renovated〉. rejuvenate suggests the restoration of youthful vigor, powers, or appearance 〈the change in jobs rejuvenated her spirits.
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (10th ed.)

I want to do all of the above in my time at the coast!

The Hebrew word in Psalm 80 talks more about repentance. It is the Hiphil form of the verb šûb:
The Bible is rich in idioms describing man’s responsibility in the process of repentance. Such phrases would include the following: “incline your heart unto the Lord your God” (Josh 24:23): “circumcise yourselves to the Lord” (Jer 4:4); “wash your heart from wickedness” (Jer 4:14); “break up your fallow ground” (Hos 10:12) and so forth. All these expressions of man’s penitential activity, however, are subsumed and summarized by this one verb šûb. For better
than any other verb it combines in itself the two requisites of repentance: to turn from evil and to turn to the good.

The Hiphil šûb is used only eleven times when discussing the divine-human relationship. “turn back (Qal imperative) and ‘let yourself be turned (Hiphil) from your idols” (Ezk 14:6).
 
 Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (909)
It will be a time to repent and revitalize my relationship with God, and I am very much looking forward to it. I will be reading Union and Communion or Thoughts on the Song of Solomon by J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905, Founder of the China Inland Mission), just in time for Valentine's Day! We go through the whole book in Year One of the Bible Book Club if you missed it! 

By the time you read this, Lord willing, I will be back and already restored, renewed, and refreshed.

2014 Update: Just reread Union and Communion on my day of prayer two weeks ago! LOL!

APPLICATION

Are you in need of a restorative time with God? I heartily recommend that you set aside half a day or a whole day to restore, renew, refresh, renovate, and rejuvenate with the Lord! Get it on your calendar and do not let anything get in the way of it. I guarantee that you will be SO glad that you did! It is 100% worth the time and effort to do it.

Here is a guide to help you get started: How to Spend a Day in Prayer

PRAYER

Lord, restore us to You. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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