Restore Us, O God!
Scripture reading for June 19th: Psalms 78-83
“Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.” (Psalm 80:3,7,19)
The psalmist begins by addressing God as the “Shepherd of Israel”. (Psalm 80:1) It is interesting that a shepherd is one of the metaphors used to help the Israelites understand God’s relationship to them. Lots of the leaders of Israel were shepherds and understood what it meant to care for sheep. Included in this group were Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. Sheep were easily led astray and distracted. They needed a watchful shepherd to keep an eye on them. Sheep were easy prey for predators and could quickly be cornered and devoured by wolves or lions for a tasty meal.
The psalmist appeals to God to “make His face shine on them”. God’s smile and watchful eye was a comfort to those who were under His care. The Aaronic blessing found in Numbers 6:24-27 was spoken over the Israelites as a covenant blessing reminder of God’s smiling face. It is God’s presence that brings us confidence and peace in the presence of enemies. God’s smile tells us of His love and mercy and brings hope.
Since sheep are defenseless, they need saving. The cry for salvation is for the protection from enemies, but goes further than that. Sheep sometimes turn away from their shepherd and are their own enemy. They need saved from themselves and their tendency to wander.
“Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself. They will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name.” (Psalm 80:17-18)
The psalmist appeals to God for salvation to come through a “son of man” that God would raise up. This man was at the Father’s right hand. This could be none other than Jesus Christ! He is now seated at God’s right hand and is interceding for us. God raised Him from the dead, that we might be revived to eternal life from our dead state! All who call on His name, the Name of Jesus, will be saved! No one who calls on Him will ever be ashamed! This Jesus is the “Good Shepherd” who can smile on us for eternity and restore us to right relation to God!