If I didn’t know better, I would say that the writer of this Psalm was writing it for us! With the pandemic, the election, the general world condition, it seems almost like he was looking right at us and what is happening to us!
Here is what he wrote:
1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. 2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might and come to save us! 3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved! 4 O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? 5 You have fed them with the bread of tears and given them tears to drink in full measure. 6 You make us an object of contention for our neighbors, and our enemies laugh among themselves. 7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! Psalm 80: 1-7 (ESV)
Perhaps this isn’t so far from being correct. We could without that much difficulty substitute the names of modern cities and nations, families and so on for those named by the Psalmist. And he wouldn’t be far off target, would he? We have had more than enough of pain, tears, fear and frustration. I have heard people wonder about all the goings on and question whether God is taking out His wrath and giving us fair warning.
But this brings me to what I consider the point of the Psalm and our difficulties. We can read it in verse seven of our reading: “Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!” (Psalm 80: 7) The point of it all is our restoration to God and with each other. All that happened to the Israelites, and everything that is happening to us is not really a punishment. I believe it is God calling us back, even as He called back the Jews.
So, what can we do about it all? PRAY! The first thing we need to do is to pray to God for forgiveness for Jesus’ sake. Pray for the Holy Spirit and His gifts of stronger faith and the will to do God’s will. And praise God for all the blessings and gifts He has showered upon us – food and drink, a great and free land, peace, and especially for the forgiveness and salvation from sin’s curse won by Jesus Christ.
So, we pray: O LORD, deliver us from the pandemic, national and international distrust and distress, hunger, thirst, family woes, financial hardship, and all other difficulties. And thank you for all the blessings we have received from You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.