Knowing God’s Smile
Lord Jesus, give me ears to hear You and eyes to see You. “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening” (1 Sam. 3:9).
Read Psalm 80:1-19
 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.  You transplanted a vine from Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.  You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land.  The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches.  Its branches reached as far as the Sea, its shoots as far as the River.  Why have you broken down its walls so that all who pass by pick its grapes?  Boars from the forest ravage it, and insects from the fields feed on it.  Return to us, God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine,  the root your right hand has planted, the son you have raised up for yourself.  Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire; at your rebuke your people perish.  Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself.  Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name.  Restore us, LORD God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat does the image of "a shining face" conjure up for you?
This is a cry from the psalmist’s heart. He longs to know the presence of God and sense God’s smile of blessing rather than a frown of judgment (3,7,19). He is seeking to understand his situation from God’s point of view (12; c.f. Isa. 48:10), to see difficulty, suffering and hardship as one of the ways in which God restores his people. Two images are used that regularly crop up in the Bible: the shepherd (1) and the vine (8-16). The psalmist has confidence in his prayer that God cares for his people as a shepherd cares for his sheep. Jesus is the epitome of it: “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11,14). Then there is the image of the vine. From verse 8 the psalmist is wondering why God has allowed his vine (Israel) to prosper and then to be trampled underfoot. He pleads for God to care for his vine. It is intriguing that Jesus also takes this image and says: “I am the true vine” (John 15:1). Jesus is both God and human–one of the most profound truths of the Christian faith. The restoration for which the psalmist pleads is made possible by Jesus.
Is God’s face something like a smile, a warm welcome? Imagine God looking at you that way today. Rejoice in his love.
Jesus, because of You I can know the Father’s smile. Show me what You want me to do today; commission me to do Your will.
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