Read: Psalm 80:1- 2; Psalm 23; Jeremiah 31:10; Amos 3:12
In Psalm 80:1 the psalmist called on God as the Shepherd of Israel. The role of the shepherd is to provide leadership, nourishment, protection, deliverance, and healing for the sheep. God revealed Himself to be the Shepherd of Israel by His past actions. God’s character as Shepherd and His past actions provided the basis for the appeal to Him for help in the present.
Think About It: How have I experienced God’s shepherd care in my life? How might my prayers reflect the approach of the psalmist in Psalm 80:1, 2?
Prayer: For deliverance and protection from God on the basis of His nature as my Shepherd.
Read: Psalm 80:3; 1 Kings 8:33 – 40; Acts 5:31; 11:18
Spurgeon notes that in Psalm 80:3 the psalmist requested of God that He “turn us again.” He did not request “turn our captivity,” or “turn our captors,” but “turn us.” When the hearts of God’s people are turned the right way, then everything else follows.
Think About It: Repentance is often assumed to be something we decide to do; but what do the references in Acts 5:21 and 11:18 (as well as Psalm 80:3) suggest about the origin of repentance? What is God’s part in my repentance? What is my part?
Prayer: For humility and an ongoing spirit of repentance.
Read: Psalm 80:4 – 5; James 1:1 – 4; 4:3; Psalm 66:18; Luke 18:2 – 8; Psalm 139:23-24
Matthew Henry, in his commentary on Psalm 80, suggests that God is angry, or seems to be angry, with the prayers of His people when 1) their motives are not right; 2) they have some secret sin of which they have not repented; 3) God is trying their patience and perseverance in prayer.
Think About It: What are wrong motives for prayer? What are right motives for prayer? What motivates my prayers?
Prayer: That my motives be pure; that there be no hidden sin in my life.
Read: Psalm 80:6; Judges 11:17 – 18; 2 Chronicles 21:8, 28:17; 2 Kings 24:2
In Psalm 80:6 the psalmist may be referring to Israel’s neighbors the Edomites and Moabites, who mocked Israel’s trouble and squabbled over the plundering of Israel. Theoretically, Israel maintained the “high moral ground” over the Moabites and Edomites. Since Israel maintained that “God is our helper,” it was humiliating– and a poor testimony– to be found helpless.
Think About It: What was the relationship between Israel and its neighbors Moab and Edom? If the church can be compared to Israel, who would be the church’s “Moab and Edom”? Do I have neighbors like Moab and Edom in my life?
Prayer: That I might be a faithful, consistent witness to unbelieving neighbors.
Read: Psalm 80:8 – 11; Isaiah 5:1 – 7; Jeremiah 2:21; John 15:1 – 5
In Psalm 80:8 – 11 the psalmist pictured Israel as a vine, transplanted by God from Egypt where it was perishing, to the fertile soil of the Promised Land. God removed seven nations to make room for this vine, and at first it flourished. Israel’s territory expanded and her influence was felt throughout the ancient Near East.
Think About It: What does God expect from the vine He has planted? How does this apply to the church? How does it apply to me personally?
Prayer: That I might be a fruitful vine for the Lord.
Read: Palm 80:12 – 16; Job 1:9 – 10; Isaiah 5:5; Psalm 94:22
In Psalm 80:12 – 16 the psalmist pictured Israel’s fall from God’s favor. Although Israel and Judah were ravaged variously by Edomites, Moabites, Syrians, Assyrians, Egyptians, and Babylonians, the psalmist recognized that the origin of Israel’s fall was the withdrawal of God’s hedge of protection.
Think About It: What are the hedges that protect the church? What hedges has God set about me and my family for our protection?
Prayer: “The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.” (Psalm 28:7).
Read: Psalm 80:17 – 19; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Romans 1:3, 4; Hebrews 1:1, 3, 13
Israel’s only hope of salvation was repentance followed by God’s deliverance. The “man of my right hand” mentioned in Psalm 80:17 is thought by many scholars to be a reference to the Messiah, Jesus. The right hand is the hand of power and of favor; Jesus embodies the power and grace of God. Through Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, Israel and all the nations have hope for deliverance.
Think About It: According to Romans 1:3, 4 how did God make the Son of Man (Jesus) strong for Himself? Why does the psalmist ask God to “turn us again,” – why not just repent? Is repentance a work of the flesh, or a work of God’s grace?
Prayer: “Turn me again, O Lord.”