Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 80. (MsgB)
God-of-the-Angel-Armies, turn our way!
Take a good look at what’s happened and attend to this vine.
Care for what You once tenderly planted—the vine you raised from a shoot.
And those who dared to set it on fire—give them a look that will kill!
Then take the hand of Your once-favorite child, the child You raised to adulthood.
We will never turn our back on You; breathe life into our lungs so we can shout Your name!
God-of-the-Angel-Armies, come back!
Smile Your blessing smile:
That will be our salvation.
Back in the earliest days of the Exodus, God told Moses to speak a special prayer over God’s people. Numbers 25: 24-26 is translated this way, in the old King James text…
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Eugene Peterson, author of The Message Bible, translates this concept of God’s face shining upon His people by using these contemporary words we might better understand…
God bless you and keep you, God smile on you and gift you, God look you full in the face
and make you prosper.
As I see it, a smile means everything in life.
And the absence of a smile does as well.
This truth applies to all of our human relationships, but it is doubly important when talking about our relationship with God.
Just think about it for a moment.
When a person we truly care about chooses to look us “full in our face,” smiling a million-dollar smile at us; quite honestly, is there anything better in this world?
And conversely, when someone we love looks straight into our eyes and is expression-less, or worse yet, is frowning, think of all the bad thoughts we tend to have inside.
So it is with God’s people.
On the days when I sense that my Loving Father is smiling at me, looking affectionately into my eyes, I quite honestly, can’t think of something much more pleasing to my soul than that.
But here’s the rub.
Life down here on earth is so difficult at times, and our lives so full of mixed-emotion and up-and-down living, we tend to believe that God would never be caught dead looking at us, let alone smiling. Right?
But here’s the biblical truth.
In Jesus, and the work He did on the cross, God now sees His sinful and wayward children in a whole new light. We’re sinners, yes. But, forgiven sinners. Sinners who have been fully forgiven for our selfish nonsense and are now adopted sons and daughters of a smiling God who actually enjoys looking into our smudged-up faces, grinning at us, making His face shine upon us!
The God of the Universe is looking my way today, smiling His million-dollar smile at me. Making my life worth a million dollars, because He, and He alone, decided to do just that.
For one wayward sinner, that’s sure good news. Don’t you think?
My prayer: God, the enemy does his very best each day to convince me that You are frowning at me 24-7. But in truth, through Jesus Christ, You take the hand of Your once-favorite child, the child You raised to adulthood, and You smile Your million-dollar smile into my sad and lonely face. Like the Psalmist, I sing out, “I will never turn my back on You; breathe life into my lungs so I can shout Your name!” For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What might my life look like if I knew with certainty the ancient blessing of Moses is alive and well in my life, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? How might I live differently if I knew without question that my God is blessing me and keeping me, smiling on me and gifting me, looking me full in my face, and making me prosper?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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