“Restore us O God; make your face shine up on us, that we may be saved.” (3)
Today’s passage is a cry for help from the Lord Almighty. The entire worshipping community cries out to God for deliverance. The psalmist calls upon the Shepherd of Israel, he looks up to the mercy seat between the Cherubim, where God sits on the throne of grace. The key verse (v3) is repeated three times in this Psalm which expresses the central theme.
A Plea for Return (v14): Israel is compared to a vine that God brought out of Egypt. He brought them into Canaan. He blessed them and helped them to spread out wide into the world. However, Israel had sinned before the Lord and His Presence departed from Israel’s midst. Now the chosen nation had become a laughing stock for her neighbors. The wild animals and insects had started feeding on the vine. In this deplorable state, Israel now longs for God to return into her midst and watch over her. God has chosen us, the church as the choice vine. He has separated us and planted us in this vineyard for a purpose, to share the Good News. Have our sinful lives caused His Presence to depart from our lives?
A Plea for Restoration (v3, 7, 19): The repeated verse echoes the cry of Israel who pleads with Almighty Lord to restore the relationship they once had with their Maker. They realize that their sin had caused God to turn his face away from them. Israel now wishes that God would shine on them and that the glory of the Lord appear over them (Isaiah 60:1). Ultimately it is God who saves; we cannot be saved by our works, it is the Grace of God. He is the only one who can chart out the plan for our salvation in this sinful world.
A Plea for Revival (v17-18): This is a reference to Messiah in v 17, the man at God’s right hand and the son of man (Rom 8:34). In Jesus Christ, we see God’s plan for restoration of the entire world. Yes, we may be lost in sin and have become an object of shame. Yet, Christ has paved way for reconciliation between God and man. He is Chosen One who has driven out of the wild animals and insects that once haunted the vine and restored the life-giving Spirit into our lives. Through Him, we are led into a state of revival. We will call upon His Name and He will abide with us forever.
God has planted us, the church, as a choice and noble vine; he has planted us in the wilderness of this world. We should not live a life conformed to patterns of this world, but rather lead a life of revival, and let God’s glory shine upon us and lead others out of darkness.
Prayer: “Great Shepherd, we come to you as members of a flock that has lost its way home! Turn your radiant face towards all of us again, that together we may find our way back to you. Amen”
Thought for the Day: “Revival is the people of God living in the power of an ungrieved, unquenched Spirit.”
Abin Varghis, St. James Mar Thoma Church, London