October 14, 2020 Steven W. Schenewerk

Revive. Restore, Renew

Psalm 80

           Within a generation after the death of King David God’s people were divided. Ten tribes settled in the north of the Promised Land and two tribes remained in and around Jerusalem. The people of the north suffered a succession of families who wrestled leadership from one another. Samaria was built in order to be a capitol city. Their first ‘king’ of the created an entire religious system, borrowed from their own past revolving around golden calves.

           The southern ‘nation’ was ruled by descendants of David. Some were godly men, others not quite so much. Yet when Samaria fell to the Assyrians the tribes in the south felt the fall in a deeply personal way. Those ten tribes were family. To see family humiliated and exiled from their land and to see foreigners who knew nothing of the sacredness of the land take their place was heartbreaking.

           This lament, authored by the musicians of the Temple, reflects how deeply felt the fall of Samaria was experienced. Prayer for deliverance appears to be lost in the smoke of God’s wrath. Tears of sorrow, the agony of defeat while enemies rejoiced is out of character for the people whom God had rescued from Egypt.

           In our tumultuous times it can seem as though God’s favor has been transformed into wrath. Where we once experienced triumph and joy we now seem to see tragedy and despair. When we reflect on where we’ve come from and where we are headed, we feel shame instead of confidence.

           As the prayer of lament concludes the musicians pray for God to raise up one whom He can use to restore God’s people. Restoration, revival can only happen when God’s people affirm as one, Jesus (the One who is at the right hand of God) is Lord.