Psalm 80

There is no obtaining favor with God until we are converted unto Him and there will be no turning unto Him except as we submit to His grace,
for it is He who turns us.
When we confess that it is our own sinful ways which have provoked God to hide His face,
we are beginning at the right end and are on the road to victory.

1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.

2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us.

3 Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

4 O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?

5 Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure.

6 Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves.

7 Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

8 Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.

9 Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.

10 The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars.

11 She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river.

12 Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her?

13 The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.

14 Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;

15 And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.

16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.

17 Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.

18 So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.

19 Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

Psalm 80:1-7 – ​“Turn Us Again, O God”

   The ten tribes were in captivity, and the hearts of their brethren, still living at Jerusalem under the reign of David’s line, seem to have turned with great longing toward them. This psalm is full of intercession on their behalf. Three times, at the turning-points of the psalm, the refrain is repeated that God would turn them again and cause them to be saved, Psalm 80:3, 7, 19. Note the ascending climax: God; God of Hosts; LORD God of Hosts.
   In Jacob’s blessing of Joseph, God is appealed to as Shepherd, Genesis 48:15; 49:24. To sit enthroned above the cherubim is an emblem of omnipotence. Notice how the gentleness of the Shepherd blends with His almightiness. In the Wilderness march the three great tribes of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh immediately followed the Ark, which was borne by the priests. This ancient litany surely befits the present condition of the Church, when she is rent by internal divisions, or infected with a spirit of skepticism and unable to exorcise the demons that possess society. Let us plead with God to enlighten us by His face and quicken us by His Spirit. God must defend His cause, else there is no help for it. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 80:3—Turn us again, O God.

​”Turn us again, O God” (Psalm 80:3, 7, 19)
   Three times we have this cry repeated in this psalm. Again and again, and each time with some additional thought, the soul pleads for Restoration.
   The Master said to Peter: When thou art converted (i.e., turned again) strengthen thy brethren. But Peter did not realize that the Master Himself would need to turn him. He turned his back on his Lord and denied Him; but Jesus turned him back, by that look, that message from his grave mouth, that interview in the garden and on the lake-shore. He turned him facewards to Himself, and caused his face to shine, and Peter was saved.
   We can be regenerated only once, but we can be converted many times. The new life is implanted once for all, and it is everlasting, inextinguishable, and permanent; but those who have been born from above, and are undoubtedly children of God, may, beneath the power of some strong fascination, turn aside, may wander in forbidden paths, may get into such a maze as to be walking in the contrary direction to that on which they started. There may even be times when our desire for God is slackened, our appetite for the Bible is lost, our soul is bound and tied with the cords of sin; at such times, let us bemoan ourselves, our folly and impotence, and cry, “Turn us again, O God, and we shall be turned; for thou art the LORD our God.” He who at first called us to Himself must call us back: He who regenerated, must renew: He who reconciled us to God by his death, must save us by his life. When most dark, and dead, and estranged, cry with Ephraim: “Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God” (Jeremiah 31:18). —Our Daily Homily

Psalm 80:8-19 – ​“Cause Thy Face to Shine”

   The imagery of the vine is taken from Jacob’s dying words, in which he compared Joseph to a fruitful bough which had grown over the wall, Genesis 49:22. It is therefore a very apt and appropriate figure in this psalm, of which the northern tribes are the special subject. The figure of the vine is wrought out with extreme beauty. The book of Exodus tells of the transplanting, and those of Joshua and Judges of the ground that was cleared to receive it. In the days of Solomon, the boughs of the kingdom reached to the Euphrates on the east, and the Great Sea (the Mediterranean) on the west. But the walls were broken down by invasion, and the vine lay at the mercy of every passer-by or the wild creatures of the forest.
   We, too, know the havoc which ensues when the Church no longer lives within the ring-fence of God’s care. Revive us! Restore us! Cause thy face to shineThe man of thy right hand, Psalm 80:17, may be another term for Israel, Genesis 35:18. But our Lord alone can fulfill this description; and God’s power is pledged to arrest the advance of the enemy, and to cause the true Vine and its branches to cover the earth. We must turn to John 15 to find the antitype of Israel, in the relation between Christ and His Church. —Through the Bible Day by Day


At the brink of Niagara where the mists rise above tons of water which fall two hundred feet below, there is a rainbow seen almost constantly when the sun is shining, arid within the circle of color some have seen the form of a beautiful maiden. One who was in a boat above the falls might see this entrancing vision and drop his oars and gaze rapturously, until, all unconscious, his boat glides over the brink and to destruction. The Christian also is in danger of such a fate. The world offers beauty and pleasure, and in such fascinating forms that it takes resolute will to keep from dropping the oars and drifting with the current of temptation and letting the good boat, which would save us, glide over the precipice into sin and into death.

Psalms 80:18-19