Submitted by Pastor Richard Boettner, Rock Port Baptist Church
I am writing this week as we experience a wonderful fall season, while reflecting on some Bible teaching I have done in the past year. My concern from Psalm 80 is to teach about God restoring us, from the setbacks of the pandemic through personal prayer and devotion to Him. Also, I have been recognizing that we do this as a team effort, starting with our families, churches, and community at large.
I first taught Psalm 80 for our morning worship January 31 at the Rock Port Baptist Church. I also gave the message again at our New Life Baptist Association meeting in Maryville April 18.
Here are five points for our instruction:
1) Pray with a correct understanding of God and His work. As we read Psalm 80 we can see that the author Asaph, who served with David in worship, was concerned that this be a team effort by the use of the word “us” in all of his prayers. He refers to God as the “Shepherd of Israel” and calls for him to “come and save us.” This reminds us of the Lord’s Prayer where we are also instructed by Jesus to pray together with plural words such as “our” and “us.”
2) Pray with persistence over time. The key thing that Asaph asks God to do is found three times in Psalm 80: “Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.” This is the reading in verse 3, and is found again in verses 7 and 19. This kind of musical repetition or refrain is common in the Psalms and states the key theme we are to remember. One special change that is noted is that Asaph seems to grow in his experience of God by expanding what he says about God. We can see the progression from God, to God Almighty, and then finally LORD God Almighty. His persistence in prayer allows him to find restoration in God alone, even if circumstances don’t change right away.
3) Pray with honest struggles. Yes, all of our feelings and disappointments can be given to God in prayer. Asaph gives us a few to consider such as “tears by the bowlful” (vs. 5), being an “object of derision to our neighbors” (vs. 6), and the loss of life and blessing with “Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire; at your rebuke your people perish.”
4) Pray with remembrance of good foundations. The healing that we seek as we restore events should also lead us to give thanks for the days of the past, and the good things we still have to cherish. In the text Asaph does this with these words: “You transplanted a vine from Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land. The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches.” We can stand firm when the future is uncertain if we remember God’s goodness in the past and keep caring for what we have already received.
5) Pray because Jesus is always greater. Asaph looks ahead to the coming of Jesus, as God’s Anointed One. “Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself. Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name.” Here we see that Asaph longs for times of rest and revival, even before any changes in circumstances. This should be our position in prayer too, as we walk with God each day and bring our requests to Him. We have even a better position than Asaph did, as we pray with Jesus’ work already finished, and His promise of a future resurrection for all who believe in Him.
I sincerely pray that this writing will help you to follow Jesus. If you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me at the e mail tab with rockportbaptistchurch.com.