Saturday, December 2, 2017

December 2

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

Three times in Psalm 80, the praying people ask God, "Let your face shine, that we may be saved." To let your face shine" means to be present with someone with good results. This refrain is at the heart of Psalm 80, and at the heart of the refrain is the cry "come and save us."

Certain questions are asked of God in this psalm, but they are not answered. The people have been faithful in worship, asking for God's help, but God has not responded. The question is "How much longer, Lord?" (80:4)

The city walls have been broken down, leaving a heap of ruins and rubble. Such scenes are not uncommon in our times. The city Munster in Germany was bombed on a sunny Sunday afternoon in October 1943. Hundreds of house and buildings were destroyed, including churches. Hundreds of innocent citizens were killed, including children. The question remains, even today: Why, Lord?

In many such cases, the questions will always remain questions. But somehow, despite these unanswered questions, God's people have survived. They have had to learn to live with mystery. Somehow, they have been enables to go on, remembering mighty acts of God in the past, hoping for God's acts in the future, and praying to a God whose ways they do not understand.

Let your face shine, O Lord, that we may be saved.

James Limburg
in Psalms: Westminster Bible Companion (Westminster John Knox Press, 2000)

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