Turn Us Again!
Turn us again to yourself, O God. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.
The words of verse 3 serve as a refrain in Psalm 80, appearing again with slight changes in verses 7 and 19. The first request in this chorus is “Turn us again to yourself, O God” (80:3). Some translations prefer “Restore us,” but the Hebrew verb literally means “turn us around.” Asaph, the author of this psalm, assumes that the Israelites have gone in the wrong direction and need God to reverse their course.
The second imperative in this verse reads, “Make your face shine down upon us” (80:3). In this image, God is rather like the shining sun or perhaps a parent beaming at a child. God’s shining face represents, not just his presence, but also his blessing.
Psalm 80:3 ends with the hoped-for result of God’s turning and shining: “Only then will we be saved.” Asaph recognizes that God alone can deliver his people from their devastation and sorrow. This will happen as God turns them back to himself and chooses to be present with them and to bless them.
We also need God to turn us to himself and to make his face shine upon us. This happens with eternal impact when we first put our faith in Christ. Yet, as Christians, we persist in walking off the trail and losing sight of the Lord. Thus, like Asaph, we cry out for God to turn us around so that we might live for him and in his presence. We yearn for his presence and goodness. Only when we live in the light of God’s grace will we experience the reality of his salvation today, even as we wait for the fullness of salvation that is still to come.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever prayed along the lines of Psalm 80:3? When? What happened? How did God turn you around and make his face to shine on you? Do you need God to do this again in your life today?
PRAYER: O Lord, today I echo the prayer of Asaph in Psalm 80. Turn me again to yourself, O God! Though I haven’t wandered far from you today, I still need you to reorient my life, to keep me walking in your path.
Moreover, I ask you to make your face shine down on me. I want to experience your presence in a fresh way today, Lord. And I do depend upon your blessing each day.
Only by your grace and power am I saved, dear Lord. How I thank and praise you for your salvation. You save me, not only from sin and death, but from so many messes I make because of my sin. Your forgiveness and restoring power are amazing.
All praise be to you, O God, because you are my Savior . . . the Savior of the world! Amen.