1 For the director of music. To the tune of “The Lilies of the Covenant”. Of Asaph. A psalm.
Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock; you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth 2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken your might; come and save us. 3 Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
4 O LORD God Almighty, how long will your anger smoulder against the prayers of your people? 5 You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have made them drink tears by the bowlful. 6 You have made us a source of contention to our neighbours, and our enemies mock us. 7 Restore us, O God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
8 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. 9 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 It sent out its boughs to 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 the creatures of the field feed on it.
14 Return to us, O 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, O LORD God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
Psalm 80 – The Saviour and Shepherd
(Verses 1-3) Psalm 80’s themes are familiar. Asaph reminds the singers who God is: the ‘Shepherd of Israel’ who guides feeds and protects His sheep. Jesus said (John 10:11), ‘I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep’ and adds (John 10:14) ‘I know my sheep and my sheep know Me.’ He laid down His life to die on the cross for our sins, suffering God’s judgment that would take us eternity to pay, without Jesus as our Saviour. God personally knows and cares for every sinner who trusts in Him. Asaph also refers to God’s holiness. In the Temple’s Holy of Holies were two golden cherubim. Their wings overshadowed the Ark of the Covenant that spoke of God’s presence and awesome holiness, where God was worshipped. Asaph asks God to awaken His might to save His people, and to restore them by His smile shining on and saving them. Jesus restores, blesses and saves personally all who come humbly in faith to Him and submit to Him as Lord.
(Verses 4-7) Asaph again asks Almighty God ‘how long’ before He ceases to be angry with His backslidden and chastised people to answer their pleas for blessing. They weep ‘tears by the bowlful’. Foes and neighbours mock them. Asaph prays again for restoration, God’s smile and God’s salvation. However bad a sinner is, if he really repents and asks Jesus to save him, Jesus response at once is ‘YES’. He enters his life. There is no need to ask twice.
(Verses 8-13) When God rescued Israel from Egypt to place them in Canaan, they were like a growing vine covering much land, from the mountains to the sea. God cared for that spreading vine and put walls around it. Now, with walls broken down, passers-by and wild beasts eat the grapes still growing. The vine is cut down and burned. Israel’s people are devastated after such cruel and violent enemy destruction.
(Verses 14-19) Asaph asks God to ‘Return’, inspect and watch over them as a father, and revive Israel. He says then they will not ‘turn away from’ God, and ‘will call on His name.’ He then again prays for their restoration, and God’s smile on them to save them. God will raise up the ‘son of man’ at His right hand to act, probably referring to David’s line. But the Lord Jesus Christ, ‘Son of God’ and ‘Son of Man’, does that for sinners even now! Are you saved?