Reading: Psalm 80
For the director of music.
To the tune of “The Lilies of the Covenant.” Of Asaph. A psalm.
Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might; come and save us.
Restore us, O God;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.
How long, LORD God Almighty,
will your anger smolder
against the prayers of your people?
You have fed them with the bread of tears;
you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors,
and our enemies mock us.
Restore us, God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved (NIV).*
Have you been greeted by a happy face today? I’m talking about the ubiquitous, yellow, happy face stickers that pop up everywhere, especially in any form of online communication. :-)! We all recognize that these happy faces are intended to brighten our day—make us feel happy like the smiley face shows. I’m not sure they always succeed in their objective.
Of course a bright, shining human face with a broad genuine smile is much better in communicating happiness than a symbolic sticker on a screen. Real live face time trumps online communication in every way—at least it should. Some things—most things—are communicated best face to face. That’s one of the drawbacks of mask wearing during this pandemic. They make it difficult to visually communicate our true feelings. (Let’s pray the need for masks will end soon.)
Here in Psalm 80, the psalmist, Asaph, pleads for face time with the LORD. In fact, in the entire psalm, Asaph repeats this request three times. Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved. Clearly, the psalmist is longing to see the smiley face of God—the shining face of God.
In Hebrew literature the shining face of God represents God’s favor—His grace. In reality the psalmist is pleading for God’s favor to rest on him and his people. The truth is we get nowhere without the favor of God. Unless the LORD is gracious to us, we are doomed to fail in this life and perish in eternity. It’s just that simple. We desperately need that happy face sticker from God. This should be our daily prayer: Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.
Response: Father God, today I need face time with you. Show me your kindness. Help me to sense you smiling down on me like a loving parent smiles down on their child. Thanks for your grace. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you recently sensed God smiling down on you? How did that make you feel?
* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
Some good news: The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz will be published in November, 2020, by Elk Lake Publishing. Two additional volumes will follow in 2021 to complete the three volume set of devotions from the Psalms.