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July 16, 2022 8:00 am
Welcome to through the songs we give ministry of the truthful teaching God's people. God's word over time will study all 150 Psalms with pastor Don Greene from truth community church in Cincinnati, Ohio were so glad you're with us. Let's open to the Psalms right now as we join our teacher in the truthful open. What were going to do tonight is were going to turn to Psalm 80 Psalm 80 and will discontinue with another Psalm 80 is a nice round number. A bit of a bit of a milestone I can't believe that we've gotten through eight in the can't believe we got 70 more to go but this is a wonderful Psalm and the title that tonight if you're taking notes. The title that I've assigned for this is rise and shine rise and shine and were going to just read Psalm 80 before we began our exposition of it. Psalm 80 beginning at verse 10 give ear Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock, you who are enthroned above the cherubim shine forth for Efraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up your power and come to save us, O God restore us and cause your face to shine upon us and we will be saved, O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with the prayer of your people.
You have fed them with the bread of tears and you have made them to drink tears in large measure, you make us an object of contention to our neighbors and our enemies laugh among themselves O God of hosts restore us and cause your face to shine upon us and we will be saved. You remove Divine from Egypt. You drove out the nations, and planted it. You cleared the ground before it, and it took deep root and filled the land. The mountains were covered with the shadows and the cedars of God, with its bows. It was sending out its branches to the sea, and it shoots to the rivers, why have you broken down its hedges so that all who pass that way. Pickets fruit a bore from the forest eats it away in whatever moves in the field feeds on it, O God of hosts turn again. Now we beseech you look down from heaven and see and take care of this vine. Even the chute which her right hand has planted in on the son, whom you have strengthened for yourself is burned with fire.
It is cut down. They perish at the rebuke of your countenance, let your right hand be upon the man of your right hand upon the son of man, whom you made strong for yourself, then we shall not turn back from you, revive us and we will call upon your name, O Lord God of hosts restore us because your face to shine upon us and we will be saved. Let's bow together and open in prayer as we come to God's word here this evening. Our Lord Jesus you are the good shepherd of the sheep and as we read this Psalm as we teach this Psalm that is addressed to the Shepherd of Israel. We pray that you would come near to protect us to provide for us to guide us through your word that you would be the fullness of to us that a shepherd is to a flock of sheep be like that to us and in this time father draw us near to the throne of grace. We pray in Jesus name, amen. Well, if you've lived long enough, there comes a time where you start to realize that life has its ups and downs and you go through times even in your spiritual life where there were heights and now you're kind of grinding it out in the valley for whatever reason that that may be. And if you like that and you can look back and times, and you look back when you saw that you were in a in a better time in a better place, things were better life was easier the Lord seemed closer than he does. Right now this is a song that you will be able to relate to because the psalmist here in Psalm 80 is lamenting the nations fall from its prior heights and is appealing to God have mercy on them in their in their aloneness and their valley in their in their difficulty, to have mercy on them and he is remembering he is looking back at times gone by and saying bring us back to where we used to be were down low. Remember how we used to be lifted up high, take us there God in your dealings with us and I just want you to see the scene because it's kind of a refrain.
Kind of a chorus in the Psalm. Look at verse three, he says, oh God restore us and cause your face to shine upon us and we will be saved. In verse seven he says, oh God of hosts restore us and cause your face to shine upon us and we will be saved and then the concluding verse of Psalm 80 verse 19, O Lord God of hosts restore us because your face to shine upon us and we will be saved. So you see this chorus that is repeated multiple times and you also see that keyword restore us indicating bring us back to where we used to be. I want to go back to where you once had a so God in this world restore is a term that can refer to a return to physical prosperity for sure but it is also a term that can speak of spiritual repentance and spiritual obedience. Lord not only bring us back to a place of material well-being take us back to that place where the spiritual waters were fresh in our souls where the waters were flowing freely and we were in obedient people and we were loving and worshiping you in the way that we were appointed to do and so if you're here this evening at a place where in a place where you have slipped, perhaps, or have a sense of being distant from where you used to be. Spiritually, this is a great song to come to grips with here this evening and here in this Psalm, the psalmist makes over three different paragraphs makes a threefold request to God and the song will just walk through those one by one.
In keeping with the three courses that we saw. We see three sections to this Psalm, emphasizing different aspects of the nature of this prayer in one of the things I like to say multiple times in different ways. As we go through the Psalms is where were going through them in an intentional way and and where were treating one song with one message it would be easy to to go in it in such a way that you spend three or four messages on each individual song.
Not only will I not live long enough to do just that. The way that I might like to what we want to do.
And with these individual Psalms as we want to see the flow of the song to see them as a unit of thought in the different aspects of the single unit of thought that is that is there and sometimes if you go to. Slowly through a through a a unit of Scripture like that you start to miss the big picture you start to miss what is actually being said, because the psalmist was writing this, he had a comprehensive approach to his Psalm in mind and he was going from point A to point B to point C in order to accomplish an objective with the Psalm which you might this if you don't see it in its full context and view all of the verses together and so that's what were trying to do with this entire exposition of the Psalms, Lord willing, will go through all 150. It certainly what we want to do tonight and so we see first of all, we can put it this way. He opens this Psalm with the section that will say he's asking God to release his care and by the word release. I mean show forth your care, let it go. Let it out. Let it be upon us release it to us because you've been holding it back until now. In Psalm 80 is a prayer for God's help in a time of national distress in the nation. Look at it in verse one, he says, oh, give ear Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock, you who are enthroned above the cherubim shine forth before F, Rimm and Benjamin and Manassas stir up your power and come to save us. He refers to the full nation of of Israel and then starts to identify specific tribes as well so that you see this is not a prayer about individual circumstance. This is addressing a national situation. A wide matter of concern for the people of God here. This isn't the psalmist dealing with difficulty in his own soul. He's praying on behalf of all of the people of God as they existed at that time, and he's appealing to God as the Shepherd of Israel look at it there in verse one. He says old give ear Shepherd of Israel, listen to me answer me. In other words, don't let my words be in vain.
But here and respond to what I have to say to you in this prayer and I love the fact we pointed this out last time. I love the fact how he addresses God is the Shepherd of Israel, the Shepherd, and she being a common metaphor in Scripture being a common aspect of of daily life in the nation of Israel and that day the Shepherd being the one who moved about the sheep who led them from place to place that they would be properly fed that speaking now. The literal Shepherd and literal shape that they would be properly fed, properly watered and moving them about from place to place, so that they would always find pasture and what they needed would be provided for them based on the wisdom and the love in the care of that Shepherd for the flock of the sheep. So when Scripture refers to God using that metaphor saying God, you are like a shepherd to us.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Psalm 23 is referring to God in a multiple aspect that way.
He's saying God, you are the God who provides for your people. You are the God who lead your people. You are the God who protects your people.
You remember that Shepherd would protect this block from wild animals would come and attack them and so he's appealing to God in the sense of of God. You are the one who cares for us.
You were the one and it's not just you having an emotional sentiment toward us. You you physically provide for us.
You actually provide what we need is a people and it's in that sense that he is appealing to God is the Shepherd, and as I pointed out last time in this section of the Psalter. This theme of God is the Shepherd is is prominent and I want you to just see this. We alluded to it last time, but I want you to see it for sure. Here in Psalm 77. This is the fourth consecutive Psalm where some kind of an allusion to God is the Shepherd and the people as a flock is, is made in Psalm 77 in verse 20. It concludes with the statement speaking to God, you lead your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron. Psalm 78 the last two verses of that very long Psalm the second-longest Psalm in the Psalter behind Psalm 119 and Psalm 78 versus 71 and 72 it says from the care of the use with suckling lambs. He brought him to Shepherd Jacob his people, and Israel.
His inheritance so he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart and guided them with his skillful hands here an allusion to David you see the theme of Shepherd being manifested in the writings of the Psalms in the section and then in Psalm 79 verse 13 addressing the prayer to God. It says so.
We your people and the sheep of your pasture will give thanks to you forever to all generations. We will tell of your praise and as you continue reading right through the next verse picks up in Psalm 80 old give ear Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. And so, as you are reading this song and as you're reading it in the way that it has been handed down to us skillfully arranged by whoever did it, probably. Perhaps I should say Ezra arranging the Psalm toward the end of the close of the Old Testament canon is obviously grouped together to bring this theme of the Shepherd and elevated into our thinking, and so here he is appealing to the Shepherd.
You're the one who provides for us. You're the one who protects us. You are the one who leads us and so now what I want you to see with all of that is that this is this is the opening way that the Psalm is framed. He is opened his his Psalm with a with a powerful and a potent appeal to God, based on God's caring closeness everything that follows in this song all of the requests that are made all of the appeals that are made are in the context of saying God you deal with us, as though you were our Shepherd. That's how close you are.
That's how much you care for us as your people and so it's on that basis that I appeal to you. One of the things that you see as you read through the Psalms as you read through the Scriptures again and again is that theology matters that knowing God matters Christian when you speak to God you speak to him not as though he were some distant deity you speak to him not as someone that that is remote and unknown as the people in the book of acts that they had a monument to to the unknown God, praying to someone that they had no idea who he was, what you should remember as one redeemed by the blood of Christ as one whom Christ has made one of his own sheep, one who Christ has brought near you should remember and know and understand who the God is that has saved you and to realize that Christ has purchased a full and free access to God for you that he did that at a at a loving impulse that he himself initiated so that when we go to God in a time of need.
When we go to him through and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are going to him on the basis that he has first loved us.
God, I come to you in my time of desperation, I come to you in this time of great need. Based on the way that you yourself have decided to deal with me. You have dealt with me and love you have dealt with me as a shepherd and therefore it is proper for me to appeal to you to care for me in my time of crisis in my time of need. In my time of chronic discouragement Lord because of what you have done.
It is perfectly appropriate for me not only to ask you for your help but to expect you to help me because of who you have chosen to be to me when you saved me Lord you entered into covenant with me. You brought me into a realm of promises that you promised to do certain things for me and I appeal to you on that basis to so to know God. To know the way that he deals with his people puts us in a position of great strength of great confidence of great security and you is a Christian, just as my brother Jeff yesterday. You do not go through a sudden crisis in the dark when calamity suddenly falls upon you. You're not cast out to see having no idea what to do. No, no, not at all not at all. You turn your heart to this God that you've come to know this God who is made himself known in the Scriptures, and you say God even though the circumstances like a flash flood tsunami to me. I know where to go.
I know who to call out to. I trust you. I ask you to help me in the midst of this I cling to my rock. I looked to the lighthouse that is unmovable in the midst of this, and that's why I'm so encouraged. For those of you that are here are so faithfully week after week after week because I know what the Spirit of God is doing in your heart is you believing legal and receptively listen to the word of God. He is building into you.
The principles the convictions the factions that will serve you. That will come to your aid. In that time of crisis, just like it did for Jeff yesterday.
I have five girls. As you all know one son who had shoulder surgery today and is recovering well. One of the things I said to my kids as they were moving into moving into the later teenage years and taking responsibility for their own vehicles day. This is a this is an an illustration made to order for you and I know you'll affirm it you can you check with Dave and see if he doesn't affirm everything that I'm about to say right here. I can't be too deep because I don't work well with cars or with my hands. Not that that has anything to do with one of the things this is actually leading to important spiritual point to stay with me. I don't know. I don't know Mark I think is rambling is lost tonight.
I haven't lost it at a loss to I know right where this is going. One of the things that we said our kids all the time talking about maintaining their car taking care of the routine maintenance and all that the oil changes and tire pressure in all that we said to them you take care of your car and your car will take care of you if you take care to make sure that your car has what it needs, it will serve you and will be much less likely to break down on you and strand you in a rainstorm or snowstorm or beside the a dark road in the middle of the night take care of things in advance so that your car won't strand you if compared to what it would be like if you just ignored all of those things and so we said those things are kids over and over. What does that have to do with tonight perfectly understandable here as I'm go to make plane what you are doing by coming week after week on Tuesday evenings and being here if so faithfully on Sundays as well. Here's the way it works. You take care of paying attention to the word of God. When you have the opportunity being faithful even though it may not seem like there's anything really special happening necessarily week by week. You take care of the word and when tragedy strikes when trials come when calamity hits.
Here's what you'll find you'll find that the word takes care of you. You take care of the word faithfully over time when there doesn't seem to be any crisis going on, which is what all of you are doing and I love you for what you're going to find. I have no doubt in my mind is you're going to find when life strikes hard at you, you're going to find that the word takes care of you.
The word is your strength of the word is your comfort because the word is pointing you to the one who loved you first is going to point you to Christ and you're going to be able to rest in the love of Christ. Even though that seems like the walls of life are crumbling down around you. This is important and I I rejoice over what the Lord does on behalf of those who give such careful faithful attention to his word, like all of you do is every one of you almost is here almost every week that you can be and you are getting a benefit out of the life of the body that some others may be don't get the full benefit of us asleep at their well coming back to Psalm 80 now the whole point. The whole point of all of that is is that the psalmist is appealing to God in his knowledge of God, which is informed by the word of God. We are in a were in a like position as we draw near to God and his word and we can appeal to him as our shepherd. And that's what he's doing here in verses one and two. Look at verse two with me.
He says before after him and Benjamin and Manasses stir up your power and come to save us now Joseph and Benjamin are shorthand references to the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel.
Israel the northern kingdom of Judah.
The southern kingdom after the division of the kingdom after the reign of Solomon F.
Rim and Manasseh were Joseph's sons and there's something very interesting.
We will take the time to turn back there, but in Numbers chapter 2, it talks about the position of the tribes around the, the ark of the covenant as they move forward in in their wilderness wanderings. When the pillar of cloud or the by day or the pillar of fire by night would move forward.
The tribes had a an order that they followed in order to move forward and to follow the leading of God.
Well, these three tribes that are mentioned here in verse 2F rim and Benjamin and Manasseh in Numbers chapter 2 beginning in verse 17. These three tribes marched directly behind the ark of the covenant and the Levitical priests so that the picture is this back in numbers to the ark, and the priest go forward and then the nation follows the leading of God and these three tribes were directly behind that the manifestation of the presence of God in the ark of the covenant. What he's doing here by invoking those three names is he saying this is a powerful prayer he saying God I am asking you to lead our people like you did in the past when you were powerfully leading us through the wilderness going forward before us in your presence was manifested, and we were we were going forward after you. I want you to lead us in that same way in the past as you did in the past.
Make your presence known make it felt, and help us to follow you as we did in those days restore the tribes to their old position, unite us and lead us, restore us, remember that the prayer of restoration verse three look at it with me again.
Oh God restore us take us back deal with this now as you dealt with this in the past and cause your face to shine upon us. Beloved, the practical application of this is far clearer and far more potent than you might realize he's appealing to God as a shepherd saying God. This is the role that you actually have toward us and you have manifested the power of that role. In the past you've done this in the past.
This is who you are to us now I'm asking you therefore to do for us. Now what we what you did in the past and how does that help us to think through the nature of being a Christian here today. How does it help us in our trials is to remember this, you start by doing what we're doing tonight doing what you're doing tonight while while there is a peaceful opportunity in your life when you have a clarity of mind to anchor your mind in the trues of scriptures that have been revealed to know who God is to know and measure rock to know a measure fortress to know a measure shepherd to know him and the Lord Jesus Christ to know him as as the shepherd of the indwelling Holy Spirit and to come to know all of those things and to and to incorporate those into believe those and to understand them. Then when things start to fall apart seemingly in your circumstances you're able to lean back on.
That's a God, you haven't changed your role to me is the same now that it was before and so from that position of strength.
I'm asking you to help me and now he says to God, he says, God, this is what you would like. This is who you are, what you've done before, I'm asking you to do again I'm asking you to do it now. You see the you see the power of the appeal. God, I'm only asking you to do according to who you have made yourself to be to me when I come to you. Praying urgently about the needs of of the Flocka truth, community church or come to you urgently praying for the needs of of persons in my life or for my own needs.
God, I am only asking you to do what you've already determined to be. I don't have to persuade you to do something other than who you are.
I'm appealing to you to be what you have made yourself to be to me that is a potent way to pray and so what is it that he's concerned about here. Look that the universe to he says stir up your power and come to save us.
It's quite possible that the Psalm was written as the nation of Assyria was bearing down on the northern kingdom threatening to carry them into captivity. So the psalmist appeals to God to provide the shepherds care. Look at verse three, he says, oh God restore us and cause your face to shine upon us and we will be saved using that term in a broader sense of deliverance on the way that we always often think about saved in being a spiritual salvation from sin is talking about a using it in the sense of deliverance deliver us. What did God do in the past with verse three, you cause your face to shine upon us and we will be say what had God done in Egypt, he displayed his glory. He had led them powerfully in the pillars of cloud and fire. In other words, beloved God had appeared to them in his glory and majesty to protect and lead them in the past what he saying now is God appear again in your glory and majesty to help us. This idea of of causing your face to shine upon us. It's like a smile of favor you know what that's like when you meet a friend when you meet a loved one. Maybe you haven't seen them for a while in their face beams that you and you realize that you're in the presence of one who loves you. Who cares for you where you are welcome. Their face is shining upon you. You understand that it's a smile of favor when he says God shine upon us. Have your face shine upon us, say look on us with favor in the midst of our distress. It echoes it echoes the benediction from Numbers chapter 6 that we often read to close the service, the Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance on you and give you peace. So in this section of these first three verses he saying God pour out your care upon us. Let it out.
Release your care to us because we are in a time of need. Now why is he making that request. What's the context in which he prays this request to release your care is urgent because in its striking you don't expect this so much and when you realize what the basis on which is praying where it goes. Beginning in verse four is surprising in its second section for this evening. The second aspect of his prayers. God relent from your anger relent from your anger and as we go into this section, we find that the psalmist is praying at a time when God's chosen people are under a time of discipline. They are under a time of discipline and he makes this very clear and direct beginning in verse four he says, oh Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with the prayer of your people. You have fed them with the bread of tears and you have made them to drink tears in large measure. Now you're not expecting this.
You're not expecting verse four.
After the kind of introduction that you seen in verse three.
There is quite a contrast here between this appeal to God is the shepherd and suddenly he goes right into saying God relent from your anger upon us. How long are you going to be angry with us in the original languages, especially vivid pictures God is smoking hot in anger, even while they are praying to him God. God even as were praying to your your smoking in anger and God. This is in the context of you being our shepherd wire don't do this, have mercy on us, turn from your anger and show mercy and compassion upon us and they're in this time of sorrow. Look at verse five there in a time of sorrow.
You fed them with the bread of tears you've made them to drink tears in large measure. They had been so full of weeping.
There had been such devastation of heart amongst the people in this time that it is though God were force-feeding them tears for their daily meals there choking on tears there choking on sorrow there suffocating better, maybe better stated there drowning in tears as the Psalm is being written and so the Psalm you start to see as a cry for mercy and it's a cry for God to change the way that he is he is manifesting his dealings with them.
Change your disposition toward us. God here I am in the midst of the suffering were in this time of judgment. God you are shepherd God.
Remember that you care for us, God because of who you are, show mercy to us in the old God. You've done enough. We get the point turn away from the judgment turn away from your anger and show the kind of mercy that is fitting for a shepherd to show to his flock and there's not simply a vertical dimension to his sorrow. There is a horizontal aspect to it as well. Look at verse six he says, you make us an object of contention to our neighbors and our enemies laugh among themselves says Lord. This is this is utterly intolerable.
Not only are we filled with sorrow in the midst of our sorrow.
The surrounding nations are laughing at us. We are a mockery amongst other people here. We are supposed to be the chosen people and here we are in the midst of such a calamity in our sorrow is unabated and it seems like Lord you're sitting on the sidelines. You are Shepherd are sitting on the sidelines.
How can this be God. I appeal to you to remember who you are, your shepherd 7778 7980.
This is been a constant theme through this section of the Psalter and so we praise God help us God have mercy on us, and you see the refrain. You see the course there again in verse seven, oh God of hosts restore us and cause your face to shine upon us and we will be saved and so there is not only is the are the themes and the cognitive thinking of the Psalm impressive as a piece of poetry it is impressive as well.
As he repeats this course and you see the emphasis of what he is saying as he repeats the course again and again at the end of each section of the song God restore us God cause your face to shine upon us God we have been brought low God show favor to us and you start to see how this kind of praying would be very much something to appropriate in our day and age. Are you a parent struggling with a difficult child. God we been dealing with this for so long, have mercy on us, God show favor to us. I III weep over the sorrow that this one has brought to me God wants you want to show favor once you have your face to shine upon us shine upon me in this role. As I watch this one struggling seem to rebel more and more against you. God show favor to me. I'm on my meeting tears here, God have mercy on me said someone recently. I don't remember who it is. As a stand here, but just that sense that that that I believe that God has a a special measure of of receptivity to the prayers of a brokenhearted mother so you mothers don't give up on praying for those wayward ones of yours, and look at Psalm 80. Here they are forced fed on tears times of mockery all about them. It seems like God is angry with them and what does he do, he appeals to God is a shepherd and he says God restore us. God's cause your face to shine upon us.
Show me favor, God.
This is beyond my control. I cannot make this happen. I cannot turn that person's heart.
God have mercy on me, that is in keeping with the role that you've established with me is my shepherd as he continues on in the prayer, his appeal becomes even more urgent. In light of their of their storied past when I say storied.
There their lofty history that the nation had before this time of discipline at the hand of God. So he said God release your care. God relent from your anger because your face to shine upon us now in this third section.
The prayer is remember your vine remember your vine and we pick up the Psalm in verse eight.
Now and what he does at this point what the psalmist does at this point is.
He gives an extended metaphor. He gives an extended word picture describing Israel as a vine as God's fine and let's look at verses eight through 11.
Let's read them together and kind of get that out on the table here this evening. Psalm 80 verse eight, you removed a vine from Egypt.
You drove out the nations, and planted it. You cleared the ground before it, and it took a deep root and filled the land. The mountains were covered with the shadows and the cedars of God, with its bows. It was sending out its branches to the sea, and it shoots to the river now as you read this. What's the psalmist doing here he's looking back to the time when God delivered his people out of Egypt from slavery and this is been another repeated theme in the Psalms. We've looked at over the past several weeks is using a metaphor is using poetry.
He's using a picture to describe what God did, rather than simply saying God. You delivered us out of slavery from Egypt. He uses a picture to make it a poetic thought to create a beautiful word picture in the mind of those who would read and echo this prayer later.
He says he says God it's it's like you transplanted a vine and we were your vine you came in and you lifted this vine up out of Egypt and you moved it over and you planted it in a new place and and so is looking back to when God delivered his people from Egypt and establish them in the land. Verse nine he said you cleared the ground before it, meaning that you drove the nations out before us and in the book of Joshua. You read about that and and so it's really amazing how often Scripture does this in a single verse.
It will give you a summary of decades or sometimes even centuries of Israeli history and what it says but he just makes the summary statement you cleared the ground before it took us as a people out of Egypt, you move nations out and planted us in the promised land is what he saying here under Joshua. They defeated nations and drove them out under David and Solomon. They flourished and they expanded and they they took possession of the promised land from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates River.
You can read about that in first Kings chapter 4 but now after that brief look back now, God has removed the protective hedges around his vine. Now he's he's exposed his vine in a way that it is no longer protected. There's no longer a wall of protection so this vine can flourish something else is taking place. Verse 12. Look at it with me. He says why have you broken down its hedges so that all who pass that way. Pickets fruit a bore from the forest eats it away and whatever moves in the field feeds on it.
Now remember, beloved is using the he's using the metaphor here is using an illustration is using the word picture here he's painting a picture not talking about literal animals. He's talking about the way that God has dealt with his people as a nation, and he says God look back over the centuries. Look back to 300 years ago when we were flourishing under the under the reign of David look back before that when you delivered us from Egypt. We were like a vine that you planted so that you would have fruit from it so that that fruit would belong to you. He saying and now God, look at the way that it is the way that things are now have no semblance of of of contour to what you prepared us to be. Now, instead of us flourishing and being a people devoted to giving fruit of praise to you and serving you now. Instead, we are vulnerable to foreign nations.
We are being invaded. We are in danger here in the animals picture the intrusion into Israel from outside foreign armies in foreign nations and they are taking advantage of us and they are they are killing our people and they are they are using our land to their own benefit and and everything that you did to establish us as your vine. Oh God, is now being taken away. This metaphor of the vine is frequently used elsewhere in Scripture in Isaiah 5 in Jeremiah 2 and Jeremiah 12. We will take time to go there.
We just see the point he's calling the nation God were your vine. He's kind of change. The metaphor has any is talking about God as a shepherd and talking about Israel's flock. Now it's God is a vine dresser and Israel as his vine and he saying God. The whole reason the depth of emotion here. The depth of understanding is staggering. It's wonderful. He's looking back on and and reminding God of the very purpose for which he did what he did over the centuries, and this nation and he says God the very purpose for which you raised us up as a nation is not being fulfilled your purpose.
Oh God is not being fulfilled and what is happening here God isn't that grounds for you. Act isn't that grounds for you to show mercy for your namesake God for the sake of your own purpose. God asked this is this isn't even in your interests for us to be like that and so he's appealing to God to act for his own glory and what he saying here now look at verse 13. Again, I wanted this is a tangent but it's a really really cool tangent in verse 13 he says a bore from the forest eats it away and whatever moves in the field feeds on it and I actually want you to literally put your finger under the word forest.
Put your finger right by there so that you remember this moment because this is really interesting. This is really cool you would have no way of knowing this unless I told you this, the Hebrew word for forest there and I got a picture of this on my phone.
I can show it to you if you want to see it afterwords. One of the letters in that Hebrew word that's translated forest is printed above all the other letters in that word on that line. One of those letter stands above and it's printed above the rest of the line obviously calling attention to it in some way or another. It's very easy to see. You don't have to understand Hebrew, in order to see the the printing dynamic of it. Now this is cool. Ancient rabbis identified that specific letter as being the middle letter of all of the letters to all of the words in the entire Psalter. In other words, this is the Continental divide of the of the Psalter of the Hebrew Psalter where 50% of the other letters came before. Now, 50% of the other letters come after and what they what the rabbis did is they counted letters.
The level of detail that they gave to the word of God surpasses anything that we know in our age, they counted letters as they were copying to ensure accuracy in the text so that as the text was copied and transmitted one of the ways that they verified the accuracy of their work was that they counted the letters to make sure that the number of letters were equivalent from the from the original to the copy that they had made. Now I invite you if you want.
If any of you over the next week or two if you want to count letters in the English Bible would be the same. You might not come out in exactly the same place because of you know different words translating different things, but can you imagine going through 150 songs and counting the letters and saying this one is the middle one that is the level of devotion that the ancient rabbis gave to getting the word of God right puts us all to shame puts me to shame puts our love to the word of God. Shame that they gave that level of devotion and concern to getting the word of God right and now we hear millennia later we benefit from the work that they did. And that's just one way to see it and it's as obvious as as anything when you look at the original text multiple scholars have testified to this well anyway that that's just a side note, let's get getting back to the interest of the divine here and what is going on with the vine.
The question is why would God abandon his own vine like that it's not in his own self interest. Look at verse 14.
Having laid forth this statement about the vine. Verse 14 oh God of hosts turn again. Now we beseech you look down from heaven and see and take care of this vine. Even the chute which your right hand has planted in on the son, whom you have strengthened for yourself. It is burned with fire.
It is cut down. They perish at the rebuke of your countenance. He's pleading with God to take notice of them. He's pleading with God to help them God. We are your own plant. You should care for us. Therefore. But instead of seeing the.
The benefit of your care. Instead, here we are lying in desolate ruins and in imminent threat that our existence will cease now we know from other portions of Scripture that we've even looked at in the recent past year on Tuesday nights that they were in this position because God was disciplining them for their own sin. We understand that this Psalm does not confess any sin which is interesting, but we understand that what's he doing here. Why isn't this a prayer of confession.
What he's doing here is this rather than looking at this from a man centered perspective he's appealing to God. Looking at the situation from God's perspective and is this ever powerful God, you're a shepherd look at us look at is not from the position of disciplining us remember who you are is our shepherd and deal with us according to the protection the provision in the guidance that a shepherd gives God you planted this vine look at us as the vine dresser look at a set as the one who needs the fruit from that fine.
He's appealing to God from within God's own motivations from within God's own actions deal with us according to who you are. None of this is in your interest. So God so I'm asking you to show mercy to us for your own namesake. The way that is chosen to frame this prayer has a unique way of of emphasizing the glory of God and seeking the glory of God and what he prays as part of our five soul is series will talk about solely Dale Gloria, to the glory of God alone in this prayer is a reflection of that spirit, to the glory of God alone is praying for the glory of God. God for your namesake for what you have done answer my prayer for your namesake show mercy to us and when we get to solely Dale Gloria in several weeks. One of the things it will say is, is that that is the unifying principle of creation that is the purpose for which we are saved and beloved it ought to become the defining purpose for which we pray even God for the sake of your glory.
I ask you to answer this prayer God for the sake of your glory deal with me and mercy God display, but the majesty of your name in answering my prayer, not simply praying according to the selfish needs of what we want on a horizontal basis tied to the temporal interests of this life. That's what the Psalm is doing and having asked for God's intervention. Now he pledges future faithfulness and this is this is all just so sweet and and what a privilege has been hours to study the Psalms in a systematic way like this because we see this kind of thing that I'm about to say again and again and again, having made his prayer.
Having concluded his prayer.
The petition part of his prayer. Now he turns to a pledge about what he will do with if and when God answers and look at verse 17 he says let your hand be upon the man of your right hand upon the Son of Man, whom you made strong for yourself in this context he's probably referring to the nation of Israel rather than looking forward to the Messiah because he's asking for help on the nation here in the Psalm and all of Scripture in some manner.
Another points us forward to Christ. But his preeminent thought here is God. Let your hand be upon us.
The man the nation that you have chosen. You made a strong let your hand, let your power be upon us and we might be delivered and then this pledge of faithfulness, verse 18. Then we shall not turn back from you, revive us and what here's what will do God, we will call upon your name, God, we will be faithful God. If you would only answer this prayer we will praise you. In response, we will declare your glory among these nations that now taught us among these nations and now laugh at us. We will turn and we will look at them and we will declare your glory from a position of strength that is undeniable to them and we will make your name known and so he closes the song by repeating the refrain, O Lord God of hosts restore us because your face to shine upon us and we will be saved now.
One last thing I want you to see as we tie the song together and as we tie it up for a conclusion here now. Earlier, I'd as you look at this.
Refrain I save this to the end.
Not only is there a there is a repetition that we sing clearly in the in this course. In this refrain versus 37 in 19 but I want you to see that there is an increasing fervency and increasing emphasis that he makes even as he repeats the refrain and he does so by the way that he addresses God, go back to verse three, he says, oh God restore us and then he he expands out on his declaration on the provocative address of God in verse seven, oh God of hosts restore us, O God restore so many steps it up a degree in verse seven, oh God of hosts restore us and then in verse 19 he invokes the covenant named Yahweh. The covenant promise keeping nature of God. In verse 19 he says, oh, Yahweh, God of hosts restore us so there is this ever increasing emphasis that builds up to this climax of urgency by continually expanding the name of God, in the refrain. There is a sameness to the refrain, and yet there is an increasing elevation so that it ends on that fireworks of appealing to the covenant keeping nature of God, Yahweh's storehouse. Yahweh shepherd Yahweh vine dresser, Yahweh, be merciful to us because if you will be kind to us. We will certainly be delivered. How do we view this as New Testament believers will just turn over to John chapter 10 in order vine remind you something that Jesus said about himself. John chapter 10 verse seven will close with this. These statements of Jesus. These I am statements of Jesus become all the more precious to us as we draw upon the Old Testament background that is behind them. As Jesus spoke to his contemporaries who would been versed in these kinds of metaphors in verse seven Jesus said to them again, truly, truly, I say to you I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters through me. He will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. You know, maybe you're here conscious of sin. Maybe you you're here and you have not been dealing with sin in your life at all and suddenly a spirit of conviction is upon you. Of how you have violated the character in the love and the law of God with your lawless life with the lawless. That you've been going through in your life and you should rightly be convicted if that is indeed the case, but let me encourage you as we close and you find her so I don't even know where to go. I am smart my head in my life are so messed up.
Don't you see that from Psalm 80 you can go back to the purpose God and in and in John 10 go back to the purpose.
Christ, I appeal to you, I appeal to you is the good Shepherd you know in your role as a good shepherd you lay down your life for the sheep you lay down your life as an atoning sacrifice for sin. You lay down your life so that sinners could be saved. You yourself said that you were like a physician who doesn't see healthy patients, you're the physician who sees sick patients and here I am a soul sick with sin.
A soul sick with discouragement and I come to you not because I have anything to offer to you. I come to you because you are good shepherd. The whole reason you came was to help miserably lost miserably helpless people just like me and so I appeal to you based on who you are, Lord Jesus, the good Shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep. I come to you on that basis. Oh God, I come to you through the name of Jesus Christ, oh God, I come to you because that is why he came was to lay down his life.
I appeal to you to receive me on that basis and that basis alone.
You come to him on that basis, you can pour your heart out to him knowing that he will hear you that he will receive you that he will answer fully wisely lovingly in his good time to pray together to this great God father, we thank you.
We bless you we honor your holy and majestic name. Be gracious to those here father who find themselves battered by the ways of the waves of life. Be to them a good shepherd. Be kind to them provide for them.
Guide them bring mercy and comfort into the depths of their soul father where there is an urgency of a physical provision. We ask you to delay it no longer than is absolutely necessary that it might all be sanctified to the good of their souls. Father your shepherd hand upon you. We we need you to trust you so father and we ask you to look upon us mercy to give help to each one according to the need of each soul and to lead us forth. Shepherd leaves the flock safely pray these things in Jesus will friend thank you for joining us on through the songs. If you would like to follow my weekly messages from truth community church go to truth Community Church.org and look for the link titled pulpit podcast again. That's truth Community Church.org God bless you. Thanks, Don and Fran through the Psalms is a weekend ministry of the truth sure to join us next week for our study is Don continues teaching God's people.
God's word and we also invite you to join us on Sunday at 9 AM Eastern for our lives. Grade from truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can find the link at the truth. Pulpit.com this message is copyrighted by Don Green.
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