Advent Devotion, 12/20/22
PSALM 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth 2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken your might; come and save us. 3 Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved. 4 How long, Lord God Almighty, will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people? 5 You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have made them drink tears by the bowlful. 6 You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors, and our enemies mock us. 7 Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.
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.
Three times in this Psalm, we hear this heartfelt plea: let your face shine, that we may be saved. Psalms 4, 31, and 67 all include a prayer that God’s face would shine on us. And it’s a prayer that calls to mind another very famous verse in Scripture, the priestly blessing: The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. (Numbers 6)
We are getting close to Christmas, and we might wonder how this Psalm fits into the picture. To me, it fits perfectly through this prayer that God’s face would shine on us. Isn’t that what happened at Christmas? Didn’t God’s face shine on us, on all the world, first through the face of His infant son? Can you think of a less scary image than the face of a baby? (OK, when they’re crying, they might be a little scary, but you get the idea!) God chose to show His face in a way that doesn’t create fear, but trust and love. Yes, God has answered the prayer of Psalm 80—He let his face shine on us and he did it through Jesus. Verse 3 of “Silent Night” is a beautiful expression of how God shines his face on us through his son, Jesus.
Silent night, holy night! Son of God, love’s pure light, radiant beams from your holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at your birth. Jesus, Lord, at your birth.
How has God answered prayer lately?
May God’s face continue to shine upon us all, through God’s son, Jesus. Amen.
ADVENT PLAYLIST SONG
“The Light Will Come,” Phil Wickham, “Cannons”