|A Plea to the Shepherd-King|
The Story: Psalm 80 shows us the heart of Asaph as he labors to lead the people in seeking God for revival. God, Asaph knows, cares tenderly for His people; He is their Shepherd, and He will not fail to lead them in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake (Ps. 23). He is also their King and thus has power to accomplish what is necessary for their renewal. The congregation of Israel would know that God was in their midst; the ornate and glorious temple which Solomon had built was replete with reminders of this. But Asaph called for an intensifying of God’s presence – that He might “shine forth” and “stir up” His might. For the people of Israel were drifting from the way of the Lord and His salvation, as Asaph has been at pains to insist in all his psalms. Outwardly, all seemed to be going well for the nation (1 Kings 10). But appearances can be misleading. The sheen and might of God’s glory was being tarnished and compromised amid the growing prosperity and prestige of Solomon’s grandeur. The nation was in need of revival. Asaph calls for the Lord to shine His face on the people once again, a metaphor symbolizing the outpouring of God’s Spirit and a return to His sovereign Word and Law (cf. Ezek. 39:29; Ps. 119:135). Unless the God renews His Word and Spirit within the nation, its external glory will quickly be eclipsed.
The Structure: How easy it is to assess our spiritual condition by pointing to external factors – number of people in church, size of budget, number and variety of ministries, and so forth. All this can be misleading, however. The Church in our day has much in common with the nation of Israel to whom Asaph prophesied in song. Outwardly, everything seems booming; but inwardly the sheen and might of God are but little in evidence. Yet God is our Shepherd and King still, and His desire for us is that we might know more of His salvation and power. Yet we must seek these from Him through earnest, pleading prayer. Our Shepherd and King waits to revive and renew His Church, and to lead us into the world for a great awakening in our day; but we must seek Him earnestly in prayer if this is to happen (2 Chron. 7:14).Does your church offer regular and urgent prayer for revival to the Lord? Do you?
For more insight on reading the Psalms, get the book, How to Read the Psalms, by Tremper Longman III.
The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.