Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
You who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim,
Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might, and come to save us!
Restore us, O God
From earliest times, believers have found that whilst all Scripture speaks to us, the Book of Psalms speaks for us. In this collection of ancient poems we find hymns, wisdom, encouragement to trust and petition, but also – in Psalm 80 especially, honest lament. The Psalms show us that we may come to God, not as applicants in a queue to request his favour, but rather as children to their Father, bringing our deepest concerns. In this Psalm the people, led by Asaph the temple singer, lament the devastation brought upon God’s people and the abandonment they feel, and they cry out to him for help. Three times the Psalmist cries: ‘Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.’ This Psalm is a prayer that God will turn his people and restore them again. As we look on God’s fragile world this Advent, let us cry out to our powerful and Good Shepherd, that he will return again quickly to restore his creation and make his face to shine on all who are suffering.