Asaph writes a fairly optimistic psalm set to “The Lilies”. The Hebrew word for lilies is shoshannim from the singular shoshannah. The singular forms the basis for the name Susanna. Incidentally, Luke 8 tells us that many women provided for Jesus’ earthly ministry from their own possessions. A woman named Susanna was among them (Luke 8.3). My wife’s name comes from this word. Its American form is often rendered Susan or Sue.
The psalm begins with a plea for the LORD to shine forth, stir up His strength, and save His people. Asaph longs for restoration of the favor of God. He seeks confidence in future deliverance or hope. It is undeniable that Asaph will still face challenges, but he can face them if the LORD restores confidence.
Asaph referred to a king that the LORD would use to strengthen and lead His people to glory once again. We know who this King is. He is the King of Kings, the Son of Man who is made strong for the Father. Jesus is our King. We cannot turn back from Him. We look for revival and restoration from His alone. We look for His favor and the restoration of our confidence in Him.
Jesus is our Vine
All authority was given to our Lord Jesus in Heaven and on earth. The Father put all things under His feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church (Matt 28.18; Eph 1.22). In Jesus all the fullness dwells (Col 1.19). He will fill all things (Eph 4.10). Jesus is both the source and the sustainer of life. He is the Vine; we the branches (John 15).
We Abide in Him
Our prayer is acceptable at the throne of grace only because of Jesus. The Father has made Him strong. God highly exalted Jesus Christ and gave Him a name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the God the Father (Phil 2.9-11).
When we pray, Jesus tells us to pray believing. He says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14.12-14). If we need to know the way to the Father, we must look to Jesus in prayer.
There is nothing wrong with asking God to lift the fog of doubt, heal the sick, or deliver us from some great difficulty. But there are things that are more important than any temporal deliverance we may experience. This is a strong impression left upon the believing reader of Psalm 80.
We must have the favor of God, the bestowal of grace. The dead need to live. The rebels need to turn. We need the grace of God upon our evangelistic efforts as a church. People and time are slipping away.
We must have the favor of God and the manifestation of His grace. If we seek for the favor of the world, we cannot truly be blessed or find any kind of rest. We only find fear in our pursuit of the world’s favor. We need the light of God’s countenance upon us once more. Jesus said that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. He will give us rest.
Answers to Prayer
God Provides Stability
When we are shown the favor of God, it leads toward wonderful blessing. A person who truly walks with God is steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in the Lord’s work. He knows that his labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Cor 15.58). Once you have gained the favor of God, nothing will separate you from His love. You are rooted and stable.
God Provides Eternal Life
Eternal life is knowing Christ. It is a life of quality lived for eternity. “We will not turn back from You; revive us, and we will call upon Your name!” Confidence and stability stem from knowing that God works in and through us for His glory. We are safe in Christ. No one will ever pluck us out of His hands.
No matter the uncertainty of the future or the despondency of the present, relief comes from the Father’s throne. Jesus is mighty to save! We are not alone.
We believe; therefore, we pray. We have nothing in which we should glory. If the branch flourishes, it is because of the Vine. The Vine controls the quality of the branch. Paul wrote, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15.10). If we do not sow, we shall not reap. But when we reap, it is the grace of God with us that will have energized our work.
Father, restore us; make Your face shine on us, so that we may be delivered. Restore us, God of Armies. Return and look down from heaven and see; care for us as branches in the Vine, the Root Your right hand planted, the Son You made strong for Yourself. Let Your hand be with the Man at Your right hand, with the Son of Man you have made strong for Yourself. We will not turn away from You; revive us, and we will call on Your name. Restore us, LORD, God of Armies; make Your face shine on us, so that we may be delivered (Based on Psalm 80.3, 7, 14-15, 17-19).