For the past few weeks, we’ve truly been “empty nesters.” It’s the first time we’ve had no one living in the house with us . . . no daughters . . . and no “adopted” daughters. For now, they are all out of the house. Yet, we manage to maintain a closeness with our girls . . . due, in part, by the wonder of FaceTime. FaceTime, the Apple solution to personal video conferencing, has been great. While talking by phone is good, connecting face to face is better. While hearing their voices allows us to communicate, seeing their faces allows us to commune. So it is with our God. So was the cry of the psalmist . . .
Restore us, O LORD God of hosts!
let Your face shine, that we may be saved! (Psalm 80:19 ESV)
The songwriter sensed the distance. The Shepherd of Israel, He who was enthroned upon the cherubim, and His flock had grown distant. Not that the Shepherd had moved . . . but that the sheep had strayed. They had turned their hearts toward the ways of the world . . . they had chosen to follow that which seemed right in their own eyes. And their world had come unhinged.
An object of contention among their neighbors . . . the subject of derision and scorn by their enemies . . . the songwriter, changing the analogy, laments concerning the vine. The vine, which God had brought out of Egypt and had planted in a new land, was being ravaged. The vineyard walls had been broken down . . . those who passed by took what they wanted . . . it was being consumed by the very world it had shun its Vinedresser for.
And coming to their senses . . . turning again toward heaven for deliverance . . . they find a barrenness . . . there is silence. They find the back of God. And so the psalmist, on behalf of God’s people, cries out three times in his short song, “Restore us . . . let Your face shine, that we may be saved.”
They needed face time.
They longed for right relationship again . . . they knew their need for restoration . . . they desired to be renewed . . . the longed for revival. Let Your face shine, O God (v3) . . . let your face shine, O God of hosts (v7) . . . let Your face shine, O LORD God of hosts (v19). With increasing intensity . . . with a burning desire to know again close communion . . . the songwriter cries out for face time. To not just hear the voice . . . but to know the countenance . . . to the know the favor of God as He again reveals to them His glory.
They needed to turn again to their God . . . but that was only possible as, in His abundant grace, their God first purposed to turn again to them.
But let Your hand be on the man of Your right hand,
the son of man whom You have made strong for Yourself!
Then we shall not turn back from You;
give us life, and we will call upon Your name! (Psalm 80:17-18 ESV)
The face of God shining upon us . . . it is the remedy for the wayward heart. His grace toward us priming the pump of desire toward Him. As God again gives us His face, we hear not just His voice, but know His communion.
Praise God for face time! Amen?