Psalm 80 today. No one knows the particulars of why this psalm was written. Evidently, there were Gentile marauders that threatened and attacked several tribes of Israel. Probably, there were more than one attack. In their despair, the people cry, out in vs 4: “O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?” They prayed, they waited and silence from God. They cried, lamented and were embarrassed how their Gentile neighbors derided their condition (vss 5,6). The question for today is, “How do you respond when your prayers to God don’t seem to be answered? Moreover, there is a long silence?” As one author put it, God is on mute.
I think the key to the answer to this question, and the major theme in the psalm, are three verses repeated three times in verses 3,7,19: “Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” As one of my friends once said, “if God says something once, pay attention. If he says it twice, then really pay attention. If he says it a third time, obey at all costs!!!” Here is one of those times...three times, in fact!
It’s a simple prayer. It has three divisions. Evidently, it should be prayed regularly from God’s perspective. Here is the division:
1. “Restore us, O God”. As a part of this prayer, you’re acknowledging something is broken. Admit unfaithfulness and the broken places in your life. Ask and believe God is in the restoration business. In fact, he loves to restore double for what has been taken from us (see Zech 9:12, Job 42). He loves to take that which is broken, seemingly beyond repair, and make it more valuable than it’s ever been.
2. “Let your face shine”. Do you see the picture here? It’s of a proud parent beaming with satisfaction on his child. When a father is proud, there is nothing he wouldn’t do for his child.
3. “That we may be saved”. This is the outcome. You want salvation, wholeness, deliverance for the problem. You are specific, hopeful, that God hears and will eventually respond to this kind of humble prayer.
Try praying this prayer today, tomorrow, as you wait upon the Lord. It must be a right kind of prayer. Why else would God say it three times?
May our God of hope restore you all that has been broken and stolen in your lives!