“Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” Psalm 80:19
The 89th psalm contains a simple prayer. “Restore us, O Lord God of hosts.” If we think about the history of the people of Israel there were a few times of glory, Moses and the Exodus, David and Solomon. But these were few and far between. Most of the peoples’ history was spent either in ordinary times or ones full of difficulty. This is probably true for most of us. There may be a few extraordinary times and moments in our lives. But most of our days are lived in the routine of duty, obstacles, and responsibilities. It would not be strange that we might want to pray that God would restore us to better days.
What have been the glory days of the church? We might think of the earliest days of the church as recorded in the book of Acts. Or right after Constantine’s reign when the entire Roman society turned toward the Christian faith. The Protestant Reformation might be one of those times, when new vitality was breathed into God’s people. Perhaps we, as Americans, would think of times of great revival in our country, such as the Great Awakening under the leadership of Jonathan Edwards. We might even think of the 1950’s when most of America went to church, when prayer was still in the schools, and no one disparaged the motto, “In God We Trust.”
But all of those moments also had their challenges. Some times were filled with controversy. Others with war and disease. Some with excess. Others with apathy just below the surface.
If you were to pray, “Restore us, O Lord God of hosts,” what would you mean? Would you desire a restoration of harmony, or health, or relationship? Would you pray for peace of mind? Or renewal of purpose? What if God were to restore the church? What could the church do if it truly set its heart on serving Christ seriously? How would society change if the church stepped up and fulfilled its mission? Do we need God to restore our nation today, to a God-fearing and righteous people? How could we impact the world if that were to happen?
The writer of the psalm asks that God’s face would shine on the people of God. That is a good prayer, that God would turn toward us with his favor. May God grant this to be true, on us as individuals, on the church, and on our country. May he restore us. May his face shine upon us.
With Warm Regards,