That We May Be Saved-September 29, 2013
Scripture: Psalm 80:1-3, 7-19
Restore us, O God Almighty;
Make your face shine upon us,
That we may be saved. Psalm 80:3,7,19
Do you think that if something is important it bears repeating? What is that is truly worth repeating? Is it that joke we heard the other day, the one we laughed at but it not really funny.
All true revival begins with recognition. Recognizing both who God is and our state or condition before Him. Here in Psalm 80 we have some very powerful poetry describing the deep need for God but also recognizing the things that God has already done for us, and for Israel. Sharing our continuing need of God and asking for restoration and revival.
Although revival comes to one person at a time, it comes most often in a collective seeking and yearning. It is not that the might of God is literally asleep but has been inactive toward them, because of their turning from God rather than trusting God, God gave them what they were seeking a power of their own strength, which as it turns out wand not very powerful. Will we turn or trust, that is the first thought for revival.
Awaken your might, come and save us. To ask for restoration is to recognize that we are in a fallen position or state. This asking is to recognize for restoration is an acknowledgement of our being lost. We hear the words come and save us because we cannot save ourselves. Save us, we need your help. Awaken your might, is a recognition that the Lord, He is mighty to save. Salvation and restoration come from the Lord. Without Him salvation is not possible. We begin to collectively ask God to move to save us as a people by first saving me the person. This happens when we draw close to the Lord and we ask Him not to turn His back to us but to make the light of His face to shine upon us. Lord do not turn away from us any longer, like we have turned from you. Lord we are sorry and we need you. Lord, we have ignored you we have tried to do it on our own. Lord we may be alive but we might as well be dead. Without you there is not life, nothing but existence, and it has not power, no position, no passion, and no purpose. Lord what is life without you? A void, a place of existence like being lost at sea. We are there but that is all we can say.
When we call out for restoration and revival we recognize our helplessness and need for a savior. Save us! Fill us with your power, position us near you, give us passion as we live day-by-day to live purposefully for you. The Psalmist recognizes the great power of the Lord, by describing what the Lord has done and His trustworthiness and His ability to do it again. Lord you plucked the living vine out of the land of oppression. Beginning to clear out the people of the new land this land of promise. Like a farmer clearing the ground and planting the vine there and it began to take root and grow. We are because of who He and what He has done and so we are reminded that He is worthy of worship, honor, and praise for only He can save.
As is grew goodness also grew up around the vine as well. Providing shade, might, protection, and blessing. Sometimes the all too familiar will keep us from recognizing the daily blessings we have. When the blessings have become so expansive. They are as far as they eye can see and we begin to see and accept this state of blessedness as the new normal and in doing so our familiarity with blessing has brought us to a place where blessings are seen a common or our right and they are taken for granted rather than take as a gift from God. Being blinded by blessings can sometimes cause us to forget the giver of these good blessings of the Lord.
The Lord exposed their presuppositions by taking away the protection of those blessings. The things we began to see and take as common place was then taken away by any and everybody which is the truest sense of common, meaning for any and everybody. When they or we demonstrate to God that His blessings are not special or common place, He teaches us that they are not by demonstrating how commonplace life is without Him.
It is in understanding this that we begin to repent for we are greatly blessed by our great powerful and wonderful God. When we realize who God really is we begin to understand how far we are from Him. In our pursuit of ourselves and our sinful natures we have wandered far from God and for a while God has allowed us to live in the mess we have created. A mess that is of our own making. He is the God of creation and order, and the chaos in our lives most often is of our own making. Sometimes we can feel so far from God that we do not know the way back and so when we can’t see Him we call on Him ask Him to return that we can experience His presence, live in His power, and Love with His people.
This is a desperate plea for God to be there. Come, Holy Father Come. Celebrate and bring new life, like the lost sheep in Luke 15 we have wandered so far that now we need you to find us. We have just found ourselves but have lost our way and then you return for you are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Lord we know that this has happened because of our neglect of you, that there is nothing beyond your power or control. When we doubt that God is in control He may allow other things to shake and shape our world.
It is interesting to me that the Psalmist doesn’t come asking for a direct restoration, but that God would allow His hand to rest on the Son of Man. It is in knowing that it was for this very reason the Son of Man has been raised up. It is for restoration and revival that the Son of Man is here.
Lord in seeking your favor with the Son of Man and you sending Him that the people will not turn but trust. It is in trust that we affirm that all life can live again…beginning with the Son of Man, Jesus Christ. The word ‘revive’ itself means to bring means to bring back to life, to make to live that which was dead. Once you are dead it is a little late to call on the Lord.
The prayer and hope for us in not to trust in our own power or might but to trust in the Son of Man who sits at the right hand of God for He is mighty to save and the firstborn among the dead. In Christ we will live again, in Christ our words and mouths aren’t like hollow graves but they themselves will have life, breath, and spirit, from the giver and restorer of life. The very Hebrew word for breath ru’ah, also mean spirit, so literally as life comes to us in revival the breath and spirit of God dwells in us, and our mouths become the very source of praise to the one who has raised us, and revived us to walk in the newness of life for His glory. We are revived, so that we can praise Him and call upon His name.
Revival precedes restoration. We have been raised to praise. In asking for restoration we acknowledge that we are lost without Him, and all blessings, and indeed all life flow from Him. Turn your face to us that it may shine upon us. Because it is in you that we are save and have life so too it is in you that we live.
Return, Watch, let His hand cultivate. When we turn to you not away, like a plant or vine turns to the sun (Son), we will find life and growth.
Restore us, O Lord God Almighty
Make your face shine upon us,
That we may be saved. Amen