Psalms Studies With Darlene Zschech (Psalm 80)

Featuring Darlene Zschech Posted on July 7, 2009

PSALM 80 (New Living Translation)

For the director of music, upon Shoshannim - Eduth…a psalm of Asaph.

1. Hear us, shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like flock. You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,

2. shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Mannasah. Awaken Your might, come and save us.

3. Restore us O God, make Your face shine upon us, that we might be saved.

4. How long, Lord God Almighty 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 an object of derision to our neighbours, and our enemies mock us.

7. Restore us God Almighty, make Your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.

8. You transplanted a vine from 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. Its branches reach as far as 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 wild animals feed on it.

14. Return to us God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine.

15. The root Your 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 hand 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, Lord God Almighty, make Your face shine upon us, that we might be saved.

Hey lovely people… well, it is the middle of the night, my household is fast asleep, I am shockingly jetlagged, so I thought it must be a great time to get up and ponder over the psalm study for this week.
We hear from Asaph again… in a very musical complaint… as you’ll see this psalm is written in 3 stanzas… all finishing with the wonderful ‘make Your face shine upon us, that we might be saved’. Within the title of this psalm, the words Shoshannim – Edith actually mean festival, or ceremony, and within my research I discovered that this prayer for restoration was composed for the sanctuary, and was read each season at the Feast of Tabernacles.
This song of desperation is very real, and you can hear all of the humanity in Asaph’s prayer, as he calls out to the saving power of God again, as he realizes that if God does not come through, he is in serious trouble… BUT FOR THE HAND OF GOD… there is a great anchor of HOPE threaded throughout the psalm, as Asaph looks forward to a great future of God honouring His promises.
In Marilyn Hickey’s study of this psalm, she notes… ’Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh would be referring to the northern parts of the Kingdom, suggesting that the occasion of this psalm was the Assyrian assault which swept away the northern kingdom. Recently, archaeologists have discovered that Jerusalem experienced a major population growth at this time, undoubtedly the influx of refugees from the North. This would account for the presence of these tribes at the sanctuary.’ I LOVE that all these tribes ran to the place where God dwells… another beautiful lesson in life…
One of the great foundation stones of this psalm is the word HOPE. The word HOPE is so undervalued…. And it does make many people nervous… as it suggests that there is a possibility of failure. But to HOPE in Christ brings a whole different dynamic to it than just crossing your fingers and HOPING things will work out. Asaph stands with great faith upon HOPE, and talks of past victories when the Lord has come through, saving nations and generations.
I think it is so easy to become discouraged when things are not going to plan as you would have liked, and it appears God is not only not working on our behalf, but not even listening to our cries. But I do also believe that there is great merit in a HOLY DISSATISFACTION, that basically keeps you on your knees and pressing toward the upward calling of serving our King, AND being faithful to STAND no matter what the day is presenting us.
Today the psalmist remembers how it was God who brought the Hebrews out of Egypt and planted them in the promised land… and it is so very good for us to remind our inner man that Phil 1:6 says… ‘He that has begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ’. Hoping and trusting in God far outweighs the feelings of a good day, and also far outlasts the tragedy of terrible days.
If you read about any of the life stories of the many martyrs…they have held on with great hope until their last breath, and stood strong to the end….
Many who are living in dire situations and HOPING in Christ today, literally confessing His goodness until their last, sometimes very hungry breath….
There are so many things we will never fully understand this side of heaven….. but one thing we can be confident in, is that GOD is GOD, and His word never fails….
TRUSTING and HOPING in Him FAR OUTLIVES any natural circumstance, good or bad, that we may find ourselves in… for we live by faith, not by sight… confident that the Word is working on our behalf at all times… Asaph is a wonderful example of HOLDING on - no matter what is going down.
We finish the psalm with the third of the musical cries… arresting heaven’s attention… ’RESTORE us O God, make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved….’  HOWever your life is at the moment… realize the strong hand of God is MIGHTY, able to do exceedingly above and beyond….And also realise that you NEED GOD. Don’t face another day with that spirit of independence and try to do it all your own way…. HAVE FAITH, LET GO, and TRUST….
OK…. Another great day to serve our King is upon us, do well, face it with a smile, and let’s see His Kingdom established throughout the earth….
Love you all, Darlz.