Psalm 79 and 80 … Consider Him Who Causes His Face to Shine Upon Us

O God, restore us
And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved,
(80:3).

Lately, I’ve found myself wishing for happy psalms, psalms that are all praise and gratitude. Do you ever feel like that? Just wishing for days that are trouble free, days without battles, concerns, or worries; days that are just filled with all praise and no desperate needs to be prayed over.

The truth is, I’m a Hallmark Christmas movie girl, through and through. But these days in the Psalms have been more like episodes of Law and Order, graphically depicting the war between good and evil. The police and attorneys are always working hard to bring the perpetrators to justice, but the cruelty and evil that is imposed on the victims are too difficult for me to watch. Suffering is hard enough to endure, let alone to use any leisure time to watch someone else’s. So this seems to be the place I find myself; living in Law and Order, but desperate to move to Hallmark.

And this place in His Word, these days in the Psalms, are perfectly appropriate for the place we find ourselves, this place of trials, uncertainty, afflictions and even a modern-day plague.

It’s the very place that makes us desperate to cling to Him, to call out to Him, to grow in our understanding of our need, that we would cry out and ask Him to Cause His Face to Shine Upon Us.

This was part of the priestly blessing the Lord commanded through Moses. When the priests pronounced this blessing, “…The Lord make His face shine on you…” (Numbers 6:25), they were asking the Lord, as instructed by Him, to shed the light of His acceptance and favor on His children.

I love receiving this blessing. Whenever I hear it, I can’t help but think of those photos of a newborn with mom and dad looking down, radiantly smiling on their precious baby. So tiny, so seemingly insignificant, yet this little tiny human is everything to these new parents; their faces shining down on the love of their life. And in those photos, you can see the parents’ intent. Never would they allow harm to come to their beloved child, and always will they do whatever is in their power to protect, nurture and provide for every need.

And of course, in Jesus, we see the ultimate fulfillment of this glorious blessing, that He would Cause His Face to Shine Upon Us, that we would be saved.

And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved, (80:3).

“Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you,”
(Isaiah 60:1-2).

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth, (John 1:4-5, 14).

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life,”  (John 8:12).

So today, in this Law and Order world, let us turn our attention to Him Who Causes His Face to Shine Upon Us.

In Psalm 80, three times the psalmist repeats his plea, and we know when God’s Word is repeated, there are treasures awaiting.

O God, restore us
And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved…
O God of hosts, restore us
And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved…
19 O Lord God of hosts, restore us;
Cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved,
(80:3, 7, 19).

Consider Him Who Causes His Face to Shine Upon Us

  • He Causes His Face to Shine Upon Us as our Good Shepherd.
    • So we Your people and the sheep of Your pasture
      Will give thanks to You forever;
      To all generations we will tell of Your praise,
      (79:13).
    • Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel,
      You who lead Joseph like a flock;
      You who are enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth!
      (80:1).
    • “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep,” (John 10:11).
  • He Causes His Face to Shine Upon Us as our powerful Savior.
    • Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up Your power
      And come to save us!
      (80:2).
    • looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, (Titus 2:13).
  • He Causes His Face to Shine Upon Us as the Lord of Hosts, the God of Heavenly Armies.
    • O Lord God of hosts… O God of hosts, restore us… 14 O God of hosts, turn again… 19 O Lord God of hosts, restore us; now, we beseech You; (80:4, 7, 14, 19).
    • …when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, (2 Thessalonians 1:7).
  • He Causes His Face to Shine Upon Us as our True Vinedresser.
    • O God of hosts, turn again now, we beseech You;
      Look down from heaven and see, and take care of this vine,
      15 Even the shoot which Your right hand has planted,
      And on the son whom You have strengthened for Yourself,
      (80:14-15).
    • “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser,” (John 15:1).

How do we respond to Him Who Causes His Face to Shine Upon Us?

Truth. Life is not a Hallmark movie. Because of sin, life is often plagued with cruelty and evil, and justice can sometimes be misappropriated or abused. And sadly, it’s probably true that life here on earth is more like a Law and Order episode than a Hallmark Christmas movie. But Hallmark movies are redemption stories, and they do resemble truth. The main characters are always saved from the wrong path and brought to the place to find their happily-ever-after.

The song, We Believe in God, recorded by Amy Grant in 1994, perfectly expresses an essential truth about life.

“We believe in God
And we all need Jesus
‘Cause life is hard
And it might not get easier.”

Truth. Life is hard and it is probably not going to get easier.
Truth. We all need Jesus.

And… Truth. In Jesus, our eternity, that is so much better than a Hallmark happily-ever-after, is coming.

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself, (Philippians 3:20-21).

Life is hard, and we all need Jesus, we need His light to arise and shine into the darkness of sin.

For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ, (2 Corinthians 4:6),

And we need His light to continue to shine in those dark places of discouragement, doubt, fear and worry that lead to despair and hopelessness. When we ask Him to Cause His Face to Shine Upon Us, it is a prayer of child-like faith and dependence. In faith, we proclaim we believe the intent of His Father Heart towards His children, to always protect, nurture and provide every need, and to absolutely never cause us harm. And when we believe, we will pray, trusting He will listen, and we will find comfort in His presence.

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart, (Jeremiah 29:11-13).

Let us pray in child-like faith, let us cry out and ask Him to bless us and shed the light of His acceptance and favor on His children, to Cause His Face to Shine Upon Us as our Good Shepherd, Powerful Savior, the Lord God of Hosts, and our True Vinedresser, that we would be strengthened and revived to live faithfully as we await our eternal happily-ever-after with Him.

Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand,
Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself.
18 Then we shall not turn back from You;
Revive us, and we will call upon Your name,
(80:17-18).

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing, (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Let’s Grow Together!

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