Good morning everyone,
As I had mentioned previously, Psalm 80 is all about restoration. We see this theme repeated in the refrain, “Restore us, O God of hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!” This is repeated in verses 3, 7, and 19. But another theme in this psalm runs parallel to God’s restoration of Israel. This theme is “less obvious” (I say that in quotes because while it is not mentioned directly by name, it envelopes this psalm in a very clear and obvious way). That other theme is God’s mercy. Take for example verse 8. It says, “You have brought a vine out of Egypt; You have cast out the nations, and planted it.” Obviously, this “vine” is Israel when God miraculously led them to freedom from Egypt. When Asaph talks about this vine being planted, he is referring to Israel’s conquest of the land of Canaan and the subsequent victories that followed. What is not usually seen is the actual miracle that that was. Israel is one nation. They were not the biggest nation in the world, and their population and their military was comparably small to the rest of the world. The land of Canaan had 7 nations that called Canaan home. Seven nations that were bigger, stronger, and/or at least more established in the land than Israel was. But, because of God’s mercy to Israel (all you Bible scholars know that Israel did not deserve His mercy after wandering in the wilderness for 40 years because of unbelief), Israel defeated the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and the Jebusites. This was God’s eternal mercy on display. His mercy is further seen in verse 14. It seems that Israel was experiencing some tribulation because Asaph cries out to God and “reminds” Him to “visit this vine and the vineyard which Your right hand has planted, and the branch that You made strong for Yourself. It is burned with fire, it is cut down; they perish at the rebuke of Your countenance.” (Vvs. 14-16) God’s mercy is also shown in His discipline of His children because our other option would be extinction. We are sinners and don’t deserve a second chance but God gives us multiple chances to come back to Him. Quick side note, God need only to glance and mankind will perish as is evidenced by verse 16. Charles Spurgeon said, “Men can do little with their arm, but God can do all things with a glance.” What a mighty God we serve! Lastly, His mercy is seen in godly leaders. Verses 17-18 says, “Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself. Then we will not turn back from You; revive us, and we will call upon Your name.” God’s mercy to a nation is revealed through its leaders that God appoints. Righteous leaders will lead righteously. And the whole nation benefits. But this verse is also looking ahead to the Messiah’s reign, when the world will experience what true peace, and righteousness, and justice looks like. Call upon Him and you shall be saved from the wrath of God due to your sin! Repent and experience life! Do not mistake God’s mercies for inaction. Blessings from Oregon.

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