August 05 2023
Today, Saturday August 05
“You have brought a vine out of Egypt; You have cast out the nations, and planted it. You prepared room for it, And caused it to take deep root, And it filled the land. The hills were covered with its shadow, And the mighty cedars with its boughs. She sent out her boughs to the Sea, And her branches to the River.
Why have You broken down her hedges, So that all who pass by the way pluck her fruit? The boar out of the woods uproots it, And the wild beast of the field devours it.
Return, we beseech You, O God of hosts; Look down from heaven and see, And visit this vine And the vineyard which Your right hand has planted, And the branch that You made strong for Yourself.
It is burned with fire, it is cut down; They perish at the rebuke of Your countenance.
Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself. Then we will not turn back from You; Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.
Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved!
In Psalm 80 Asaph is praying and asking God to save, to return, to restore, and revive the nation of Israel after it has been basically destroyed by foreign enemies. It is possible that Asaph wrote it during the time of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah. Some commentators believe that Psalm 79 was written for the spring festival of Passover, and Psalm 80 was written for the fall festival of Tabernacles. It was a psalm for the harvest festival, the most joyous of all the great annual feasts of Israel. Psalm 80 also anticipates the day, yet to come, when the golden age will dawn and when Jesus will return and reign. But in the meantime, there are problems everywhere and worse ones yet to come for the people of Israel.
In verses 1-3, Asaph prays for the “Shepherd of Israel to stir up His strength and come and save us”. In verses 4-7, Asaph asks the Lord to have pity on His people. Now in verses 8-19, he is pleading with Jehovah “to return, look down from heaven and see, and visit this vine, and revive the His broken people” (vv. 14, 18).
In the first verse, Asaph uses the picture of Israel as a flock of sheep and the Lord as their Shepherd. But now the image changes to that of Israel the vine (Isa. 5:1-7; Jer. 2:21; 6:9; Ezek. 15:1-2; 17:6-8; 19:10-14; Hos. 10:1; 14:7; Matt. 20:1-16; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:9-16). Jesus used this image to describe Himself and His followers (John 15).
Asaph recounts how the Lord transplanted Israel from Egypt to Canaan, uprooted the nations in Canaan, and planted His people in the land of their inheritance. As long as the people obeyed the Lord, the vine grew and covered more and more of the land. The boundaries of the nation reached from the hill country in the south to the mighty cedars of Lebanon in the north, from the Mediterranean Sea on the west to the Euphrates on the east—and beyond (72:8; Ex. 23:21; Deut. 11:24; 2 Sam. 8:6; 1 Kings 4:24).
But the luxurious vine disobeyed the Lord, produced "worthless fruit" (Isa. 5:2), and felt the chastening hand of the Lord. He withdrew His protection and permitted the enemy to enter the land and ruin the vineyard. Asaph prayed that the Lord might forgive and once again bless His people. The word "branch" in verse 15 is perhaps a Messianic reference. “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:1-2)
The final refrain introduces a third name for God, borrowed from verse 4: "O LORD God of hosts". LORD is the name "Jehovah," which is the covenant name of God. The psalmist appealed to the covenant and asked God to be faithful to forgive and “revive” His people as they called upon Him and confessed their sins (Lev. 26:40-45; Deut. 30:1-10). Spiritually speaking, the roots of Israel are still strong (Rom. 11:16-24), and one day the vine and olive tree will be restored, and Asaph's prayer will be answered as prophesied in Isaiah 2.
We believe God planted America for a special missionary purpose in these last days, and brought us great blessings when we honored Him and obeyed His Word. But now the “boar and the wild beast” of liberalism, corruption, violence, chaos, and confusion is devouring us and it is time for us to pray Psalm 80 for God “to return, to revive, and to restore us”.