Opening Prayer

Father God, I praise you for your persistent faithfulness to the church and in my own life—faithfulness that is promised forever.

Read PSALM 80

Psalm 80[a]

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Lilies of the Covenant.” Of Asaph. A psalm.

Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
    you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
    shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might;
    come and save us.

Restore us, O God;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved.

How long, Lord God Almighty,
    will your anger smolder
    against the prayers of your people?
You have fed them with the bread of tears;
    you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
You have made us an object of derision[b] to our neighbors,
    and our enemies mock us.

Restore us, God Almighty;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved.

You transplanted a vine from Egypt;
    you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it,
    and it took root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
    the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 Its branches reached as far as the Sea,[c]
    its shoots as far as the River.[d]

12 Why have you broken down its walls
    so that all who pass by pick its grapes?
13 Boars from the forest ravage it,
    and insects from the fields feed on it.
14 Return to us, God Almighty!
    Look down from heaven and see!
Watch over this vine,
15     the root your right hand has planted,
    the son[e] you have raised up for yourself.

16 Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire;
    at your rebuke your people perish.
17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
    the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you;
    revive us, and we will call on your name.

19 Restore us, Lord God Almighty;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved.


  1. Psalm 80:1 In Hebrew texts 80:1-19 is numbered 80:2-20.
  2. Psalm 80:6 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text contention
  3. Psalm 80:11 Probably the Mediterranean
  4. Psalm 80:11 That is, the Euphrates
  5. Psalm 80:15 Or branch

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


‘If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?’1

Think Further

The very fact that God is the Shepherd of Israel is enough to guarantee her security (v. 1). This is the Good Shepherd of whom David speaks in Psalm 23. Under his loving care, everything the people required to be a prosperous nation at peace with itself and with their neighbors was richly provided for them. That was the previous enviable state for which the psalmist now pines (vv. 3, 7, 14). The mention of Ephraim and Manasseh in verse 2 would seem to indicate that it is the northern kingdom that is in question here, perhaps when it was under the yoke of the Assyrians.

How did it come to this? Sadly, Israel demonstrated time and again that it had failed to learn its lesson from the fate of Nadab and Abihu on the consequences of disobedience. This was especially true of the northern kingdom under its unbroken succession of godless kings. The people rebelled against the God of their salvation and he abandoned them just as they had been warned in the Law given to them by Moses. Therefore, they were destroyed by other nations, for whom they were meant to model God’s grace and favor in a lost world (vv. 12, 13).2

We too must take the same lesson to heart. In the Lord Jesus Christ we have blessings which are the envy of the watching world.3 Our conduct, however, is not always in keeping with what we know and proclaim. Mahatma Gandhi of India once explained to the Christian missionary, Dr E. Stanley Jones: ‘Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It is just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ.’4 How sad!


Paul enjoined other believers to imitate him, just as he imitated Christ.5 Are there areas in your life that are unworthy of imitation? What can you do to change them?

Closing prayer

Almighty God, make my life a testimony to the world around me. May others see in me your love, grace, and mercy—and be drawn to you.

Last Updated on February 4, 2024 by kingstar

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