make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. (Ps 80:3)
This plea for restoration echoes three times in the psalm, and it is very familiar to readers of the psalter. Israel pleas for God’s love to return to her and to save her from her enemies. In many of the preceding psalms we have heard this same petition sounded on an individual basis, as the king asks to be relieved of the many enemies who come against him. The corporate plea is of the same timbre, how long God? How long will your punishment last?
Israel’s petition takes the path of covenant reminders. She reminds God of what He has done for her in the past, reminding Him of her special status in His eyes. Yes, we’ve been bad God. Yes, we’ve deserved punishment. But how much God? How long will you punish us for the sins of our fathers?
Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
Though we are forgiven of all, past, present and future, we are not given to license. Should our choices lead to consequence, we ask our Lord for relief. How long, we ask. How long must we suffer the consequence of our choice? We often follow the same pattern in pleading for relief. We remind God—as though He has forgotten—how he saved us. We remind Him of all that He has done to change our circumstance. We may even try to convince God that all of this punishment makes Him look bad.
We rarely see Israel and her unfaithfulness in ourselves.
Grace and peace to you.