You are viewing this site in staging mode. Click in this bar to return to normal site.

Weds 21 April - Psalm 80

Psalm 80

Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
    you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
    shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might;
    come and save us.

Restore us, O God;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved.

How long, Lord God Almighty,
    will your anger smoulder
    against the prayers of your people?
You have fed them with the bread of tears;
    you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
You have made us an object of derision to our neighbours,
    and our enemies mock us.

Restore us, God Almighty;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved.

You transplanted a vine from Egypt;
    you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it,
    and it took root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
    the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 Its branches reached as far as the Sea,
    its shoots as far as the River.

12 Why have you broken down its walls
    so that all who pass by pick its grapes?
13 Boars from the forest ravage it,
    and insects from the fields feed on it.
14 Return to us, God Almighty!
    Look down from heaven and see!
Watch over this vine,
15     the root your right hand has planted,
    the son you have raised up for yourself.

16 Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire;
    at your rebuke your people perish.
17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
    the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you;
    revive us, and we will call on your name.

19 Restore us, Lord God Almighty;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved.

- - -

Meditation on Psalm 80

Here is another of the Asaph Psalms. This Psalm is a prayer for the restoration of Israel after the nation has been ravished by a foreign power.

Verses 1-3. The Psalmist is reminding us of the One he is talking to. Notice how he appeals to the Shepherd. In other Asaph Psalms he refers to the relationship between God and His people Israel.

e.g. Psalms 74:1; Psalm 77:20: Psalm 78:52; Psalm 78:71-72; Psalm 79:13

The Psalmist is reminding us of God as Shepherd of His people but also of David as shepherd of God’s people.

This takes us to Jesus who said, “I am the good shepherd.”

The Psalmist also reminds us that God is the guide of His people. ‘Joseph’ is the name often given to the northern kingdom of Israel following the split after Solomon.
Likewise, ‘Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh’ also refer to the northern kingdom (remember that Ephraim and Manasseh were Joseph’s sons and Benjamin was the youngest of Jacob’s children. He was also the second son of Rachel whom Jacob loved more than Leah and the two maidservants). These names, therefore, refer to Rachel’s children.

The psalmist also reminds us that God is the sovereign ruler over all who is seated on the throne.

Notice that three times the Psalmist prays for restoration – verses 3, 7 and 19 which is two-way, as we will see. 

Verses 4-7. Here the Psalmist is pouring out his heart and soul to God. How long, LORD God Almighty…

The people are reminded that God had provided food and water on their journey through the wilderness even though they complained and sinned against Him. Read Psalm 78:17-29

But the people rejected God and His anger was stirred against them.

Now, all they had were the ‘bread of tears and the drink of tears.’

It becomes a downward spiral – they become the focus of derision and mocking, both from neighbours and enemies.

Out of this unbearable grief, the people cry out again for restoration – ‘restore us; make your face shine upon us; save us.’

Here are echoes of the Aaronic blessing in Numbers 6:24-26.

Verses 8-16. We move from the Shepherd to the Vine. Again we are reminded of Jesus when He said, “I am the true vine.” Read John 15:1-8. He also talked of branches being thrown away and withering.

Here the Psalmist is referring back to the time of Jacob and Moses when God brought His people out of Egypt and planted them in the Promised Land under Joshua’s leadership, having travelled across the wilderness for 40 years.
But things went badly wrong when the people disobeyed God. Read Deuteronomy 28:15-69 and 31:14-29.

Now they are open to attack and the vine is destroyed.

Verses 18-19. ‘the man of your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself’ probably refers to Jacob (Israel) whom God has planted and raised up. The nation needed leadership at this point in their history and God’s anointed king was the one to provide that leadership. There is a sense that this also looks forward to Jesus, the Man at God’s right hand who will one day restore everything by ‘making all things new.’

The word ‘restore’ is better translated as ‘turn’. The prayer is pleading with God to ‘turn us, O God’, ‘turn us God Almighty’, ’turn to us, God Almighty’ and ‘turn us, LORD God Almighty.’

Their prayer was for God to turn back towards them again and, in so doing, to turn them in repentance and restoration.

We pray the same prayer.


(Roger Purdom)


Daily Readings

Thursday 22 April - Psalm 81

Friday 23 April - Psalm 82

Saturday 24 April - Psalm 83

Sunday 25 April - Psalm 84

Monday 26 April - Psalm 85

Tuesday 27 April - Psalm 86


New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Photo by Steven Lasry on Unsplash