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Psalm 80

By Henry Law

      Suppliants in deep misery flee to the mercy-seat. A graphic allegory portrays the Church. May we bear fruit as lively branches of the true Vine!

      1-2. "Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up Your strength, and come and save us."

      In terms tender and urgent the heavenly Shepherd is implored to watch over His beloved flock. He is invoked, also, as the God whose presence sanctified the mercy-seat. When the tabernacle moved the tribes of Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh brought up the rear, and so were the nearest to the cherubim overshadowing the Ark. Thus the symbol of His presence was adjacent to these tribes. Let us profit by this invocation. In our distresses--and they may be very many--let us think of the Good Shepherd, and remind Him of His tender love. Let us think of our God upon His mercy-seat, and beseech Him to manifest His strength.

      3. "Turn us again, O God, and cause Your face to shine; and we shall be saved."

      The confession is implied that we drink the cup of sorrow because of our wanderings from God. The supplication sounds, that He would, in His full mercy, bring us back, and chase away our gloom by the shinings of His smile. If He vouchsafes to grant this mercy, perils and destruction flee away, and we stand immovably on salvation's ground.

      4-7. "O Lord God of Hosts, how long will You be angry against the prayer of Your people? You feed them with the bread of tears; and give them tears to drink in great measure. You make us a strife unto our neighbors; and our enemies laugh among themselves. Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause Your face to shine; and we shall be saved."

      Penitential prayer had sued, but answers lingered. Fast-flowing tears bedewed the cheeks. Needful food was mingled with bitter tokens of affliction. In importunity God is besought no longer to delay His aid. Not only did a wounded conscience utter words of sorrow. The surrounding nations also marked their calamities, and heaped derision on the downcast people. The cry is renewed, Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause Your face to shine; and we shall be saved. If delay occurs, let it quicken our earnestness.

      8-11. "You have brought a vine out of Egypt; You have cast out the heathen, and planted it. You prepared room before it, and caused 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 to the river."

      In the midst of suffering it is salutary to revisit times of joy and gladness. Israel recalls God's early favor. He brought His people like a tender plant from Egypt's soil. He removed the heathen, and planted it in earth's loveliest spot. Here it took root and sent forth luxuriant branches. Such mercies now were recalled by their mourning hearts. The contrast awakened a plaintive cry.

      12-16. "Why have you then broken down her hedges, so that all those who pass by the way do pluck her? The boar out of the wood wastes it, and the wild beast of the field devours it. Return, we beseech You, O God of hosts; look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; and the vineyard which Your right hand has planted, and the branch that You made strong for Yourself. It is burnt with fire; it is cut down; they perish at the rebuke of Your countenance."

      The present desolation shows a terrible reverse. Protecting barriers are leveled. All passengers may pillage as they please. Wild animals may devour the fruits. Again prayer beseeches God to return and visit His ravaged vine. In remembrance of former mercies, let us pray that He who has begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Christ.

      17-19. "Let Your hand be upon the Man of Your right hand, upon the Son of Man whom You made strong for Yourself. So will not we go back from You; quicken us, and we will call upon Your name. Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause Your face to shine; and we shall be saved."

      Hope now brightens. The eye rests on Jesus. God is besought to uphold His beloved Son endued with all strength to save us. He will restore our souls. Quickened by His grace, prayers shall continue to wrestle with Him for renewed support. Repetition proves the earnestness of the soul.

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See Also:
   Psalm 1
   Psalm 2
   Psalm 3
   Psalm 4
   Psalm 5
   Psalm 6
   Psalm 7
   Psalm 8
   Psalm 9
   Psalm 10
   Psalm 11
   Psalm 12
   Psalm 13
   Psalm 14
   Psalm 15
   Psalm 16
   Psalm 17
   Psalm 18
   Psalm 19
   Psalm 20
   Psalm 21
   Psalm 22
   Psalm 23
   Psalm 24
   Psalm 25
   Psalm 26
   Psalm 27
   Psalm 28
   Psalm 29
   Psalm 30
   Psalm 31
   Psalm 32
   Psalm 33
   Psalm 34
   Psalm 35
   Psalm 36
   Psalm 37
   Psalm 38
   Psalm 39
   Psalm 40
   Psalm 41
   Psalm 42
   Psalm 43
   Psalm 44
   Psalm 45
   Psalm 46
   Psalm 47
   Psalm 48
   Psalm 49
   Psalm 50
   Psalm 51
   Psalm 52
   Psalm 53
   Psalm 54
   Psalm 55
   Psalm 56
   Psalm 57
   Psalm 58
   Psalm 59
   Psalm 60
   Psalm 61
   Psalm 62
   Psalm 63
   Psalm 64
   Psalm 65
   Psalm 66
   Psalm 67
   Psalm 68
   Psalm 69
   Psalm 70
   Psalm 71
   Psalm 72
   Psalm 72
   Psalm 74
   Psalm 75
   Psalm 76
   Psalm 77
   Psalm 78
   Psalm 79
   Psalm 80
   Psalm 81
   Psalm 82
   Psalm 83
   Psalm 84
   Psalm 85
   Psalm 86
   Psalm 87
   Psalm 88
   Psalm 89
   Psalm 90
   Psalm 91
   Psalm 92
   Psalm 93
   Psalm 94
   Psalm 95
   Psalm 96
   Psalm 97
   Psalm 98
   Psalm 99
   Psalm 100
   Psalm 101
   Psalm 102
   Psalm 103
   Psalm 104
   Psalm 105
   Psalm 106
   Psalm 107
   Psalm 108
   Psalm 109
   Psalm 110
   Psalm 111
   Psalm 112
   Psalm 113
   Psalm 114
   Psalm 115
   Psalm 116
   Psalm 117
   Psalm 118
   Psalm 119
   Psalm 120
   Psalm 121
   Psalm 122
   Psalm 123
   Psalm 124
   Psalm 125
   Psalm 126
   Psalm 127
   Psalm 128
   Psalm 129
   Psalm 130
   Psalm 131
   Psalm 132
   Psalm 133
   Psalm 134
   Psalm 135
   Psalm 136
   Psalm 137
   Psalm 138
   Psalm 139
   Psalm 140
   Psalm 141
   Psalm 142
   Psalm 143
   Psalm 144
   Psalm 145
   Psalm 146
   Psalm 147
   Psalm 148
   Psalm 149
   Psalm 150


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