Monday, March 12, 2007

Facing the Wrong Way

For some reason I love psalms which have refrains. For example, in Psalm 80, which was written by Asaph (who wrote the second most number of psalms, after David), the following is found three times:

"Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved" (v.3).

Most modern translations begin the verse with the word "restore," but I prefer the KJV "turn" because it carries with it the idea of repentance, which in the original languages of the Bible means to change direction, to change one's mind. This implies we are facing the wrong direction. We are looking at the world, desiring its gold and its power, and ignoring God and His spiritual riches. Our eyes face down, when we should be looking to Christ enthroned in majesty. As Paul writes in Colossians 3:1-2, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."

Psalm 80's refrain also reminds us that it is God who saves, not man. It is God who turns us to face the things which matter. It is God who turns us to face our sinfulness. It is God who turns us to Christ. "No man can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:44). Asaph repeats his plea to emphasize our inability and God's sovereign will in our salvation. This Bible truth can never be repeated enough, given our pride, our worldliness, and our desire to save ourselves. So we must plead with Asaph, "Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved (v.7, 19).


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