TODAY’S READING: PSALMS 78-80
Three times in Psalm 80 it says, “Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” The word for restore literally means turn or turn back. It is the Hebrew word related to repentance. So, the psalmist is crying out to God to turn Israel back by letting his face shine. When Israel sees God’s face shine, then they will be saved.
Around these cries to be turned back, Psalm 80 uses imagery that Jesus uses for himself.
Verse 1 calls out to the shepherd of Israel. Twice in John 10 Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd.”
Verse 8 says that God brought a vine out of Egypt. In John 15, Jesus says, “I am the true vine.” The psalmist says this vine covered everything – mountains, cedars, the sea, and the River. The walls that would have hemmed in the vineyard and the vine were broken down. And, this allowed everyone, not just the owner of the vineyard and his servants, to eat from the vine.
As I read through the psalm, thinking about the imagery of Jesus and the cry to see God’s face so as to be saved, I thought about John 1.
John 1:4-5 says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines.” The life of God was in Jesus. It was like a light shining out. “Let your face shine.”
John 1:9 says, “The true light, which gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” In the psalm, the vine went everywhere and everyone could feed from it. Jesus is the true vine, the true light, the true revelation of God, that everyone can feed from.
John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believe in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Eat from the vine. Receive from Jesus. Believe in his name, or the light and life that Jesus was revealing. In others words, receive from his shining face. And, you will become a child of God. You will be saved. “Let your face shine, that we may be saved.”
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 says, “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”
We turn to the Lord. “Restore us, O God.” And the veil is removed. We can see God’s face. “Let your face shine.” We behold the glory of God, being transformed into the image of Jesus. “We may be saved.”
1 Corinthians 13:12 and Revelation 22:4 both say there will come a time when we see God face to face. His face will shine upon us. We will know God for who he truly is. And, then we will be saved.