by Violet Nesdoly (reprinted with permission)
“…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” (Psalm 80:18b,19, NIV).
In Psalm 80 the writer Asaph Israel’s expresses misery away from God.
- They feel that God has abandoned them (Psalm 80:2).
- He seems angry and indifferent (Psalm 80:4).
- There is lots of crying (Psalm 80:5).
- They are the butt of their neighbours’ and enemies’ jokes (Psalm 80:6).
Then Asaph uses the vine imagery we see in other places (e.g. Isaiah 5:1-7). He describes how the hedges protecting the vine (Israel) are broken down so that passersby can help themselves to her. Wild animals trample, root out and devour her. She is eventually cut down and burned (Psalm 80: 12-13,16).
Does your heart resonate with Asaph’s description of Israel’s misery?
- Does God seem absent (“Come and save us…“)?
- Angry (“How long will You be angry / against the prayer of Your people?“)?
- Are you grief-filled (“You have fed them with the bread of tears, / And given them tears to drink in great measure“)?
- Do you feel vulnerable (“You have broken down her hedges…“)?
Such low times come to us for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we’re in a Job-like spot—suffering for reasons only God knows. At others we’re to blame. Like the prodigal son, we’re experiencing the consequences of our own folly.
Whatever the reason we’re in this spot, we can continue to pray along with Asaph to the climax of his prayer. We can present ourselves to God in repentance and submission as we petition Him to do His part in our rehabilitation, in whatever way we need it: physically, mentally, emotionally and especially spiritually: “Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand …. Revive us …. Restore us…”
Dear God, when I am in distress because of something I have done, help me to find my way back to you. When I am in distress for reasons I don’t understand, help me to trust Your wisdom. I can come back to You but I can’t revive myself. I need You to revive and restore me. Amen
- How Do I Pray When Words Fail? (underthecoverofprayer.wordpress.com)
- What Do You Want Me to Do? (underthecoverofprayer.wordpress.com)
- Return, Revive, Restore Violet Nesdoly
Violet freelances in several genres and has been published in a variety of print and online publications. Her articles, stories, and activities have appeared in Keys for Kids, Devotions for Girls, Devotions for Boys, Clubhouse, Guide, Primary Treasure, Partners, Pockets and others. She has also published two books of poetry and is an avid blogger. She is a member of Inscribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and a professional member of The Word Guild.