Saturday, October 07, 2017

God's face shining on us

Image: Pixabay
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Psalm 80:1-19

TO CHEW ON: “Restore us O LORD God of hosts
Cause Your face to shine,
And we shall be saved! - Psalm 80:19

The other day I watched a month-old baby girl with her mother. Mom had her strapped in a snuggly so that they faced each other. That little girl’s eyes were wide open and she just gazed intently into her mother’s face the whole time. It was like she was trying to satisfy the need to be connected to this person who was the centre of her world. She was looking to see her mother’s face shine on her.

In a way that’s the picture the writer of this psalm paints of Israel toward God. Three times he begs, “Cause Your face to shine” - Psalm 80:3,7,19. In each request, though, he addresses God slightly differently.

  • In verse 3 it’s “Restore us O God.”  
God is Elohim: “The basic meaning behind the name Elohim is one of strength or power or effect. Elohim is the infinite, all-powerful God who shows us by His works that He is the creator, sustainer and supreme judge of the world” - From GotQuestions.

  • In verse 7 it’s “Restore us O God (Elohim) of hosts 
Hosts is Tsaba: that which goes forth, army, warfare, host.

In this way the psalmist brings in the idea that God is powerful, has hosts—armies—at His command, and will He bring them to their aid against those neighbours and enemies that are causing them grief (Psalm 80:6)?

  • In verse 19 it’s “Restore us O LORD God of hosts.”
LORD is Jehovah or Y@hweh #3068 - the existing one, the proper name of the one true God. 

This is the name of God used in the stories of the patriarchs, the God who talked with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses in Genesis and Exodus. This is the God they know, the God of their story. (When we see the name LORD—all capitals—it’s our English Bible’s designation of Jehovah or Yahweh.)

I take two things from this psalm for myself, for us:
  1. We too want God’s face to shine on us. No matter what we have to face of tears and difficulties, we can get through it with a sense of His presence.
  2. As we go through life, we’re challenged to discover God in increasingly personal ways for ourselves, as the psalmist reveals more of Him with each request.

Dear Father, so often I feel like that baby—peering  at you with the question, is Your face shining on me? Are you pleased? Even when it seems like You’re not there, help me to trust You as the God of the Bible, my past, with faith for the future. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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