Revive Us Again
(14) God of hosts, turn again, we beseech you. Look down from heaven and see. Attend to this vine, (15) the rootstock your right hand planted, and to the son you made strong for yourself. (16) It is burned with fire. It is cut down. They perish at the rebuke of your countenance. (17) Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, upon the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself. (18) Then we will not turn back from you. Revive us, and we will call upon your name. (19) Yahweh, God of hosts, restore us. Cause your face to shine upon us that we may be saved.
Two key repetitions from earlier verses of the psalm give us the thrust of Asaph’s closing prayer. In the first verse of this segment we again find the name, “God of hosts” (vs. 14), a repetition of the same title used in verse 7. In the last verse of the segment, the psalmist addresses “Yahweh, God of hosts” (vs. 19), a repetition of the title found in verse 4. Throughout the psalm, Asaph repeatedly refers to God’s sovereign power as the leader of the armies of heaven in making his requests.
Four words derived from the root that means “turn” are found in the psalm. An imperative in the hiphil verb form (causative) of “turn” translated “restore” (vs. 19) brings Asaph’s prayer to its fitting climax. He had previously used “restore” (vss. 3 & 7) and also the imperatival, “turn” (vs. 14). In essence, the psalmist is praying, “God, turn again to us so that we may be returned, i.e. restored, to you.”
The word, “son” (vs. 15), which is repeated in the phrase, “the man of your right hand, the son of man” (vs. 17), in its primary sense probably refers to the succession of kings who ruled over Judah, all the offspring (sons) of David. However, this may well include a secondary meaning, a prophetic anticipation of the coming of Messiah, the true Son of David, who will one day return to rule over the nation and restore her to the place of God’s full blessing.
Prayers for the nation:
- Turn again to us, your vine. (14 & 15a)
- Let your hand be upon your leader. (15b-17)
- Revive us...restore us. (18 & 19)
The devastated condition of God’s nation should prompt the faithful to pray for spiritual revival and restoration.
“Revive us again,” the repeated refrain of a well-known Gospel hymn written by William Mackay in 1863, serves well as the title for this closing segment of Psalm 80. As we have seen, two powerful images in the earlier verses of the psalm portray the grievous state of the nation: a “diet of tears” (vss. 1-6) and a “vineyard ravaged” (vss. 7-13). In this segment, the vineyard is in danger of being damaged beyond hope of restoration: “burned with fire” and “cut down” (vs. 16).
The focus of Israel’s hope for restoration is centered on an individual described as “the man of God’s right hand (his hand of strength)” and “the son of man God has made strong” (vs. 17). We find this hope for a savior mentioned repeatedly in the Old Testament. For example, Jacob uttered this prophetic hope: “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his” (Gen. 49:10). In another instance, Job in the midst of his suffering exclaimed: “I know that my redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25).
When David and Solomon ruled the nation some 3000 years ago, they served as prototypes of Israel’s promised Messiah. Jesus came the first time in humility to die for our sins. However, he will return a second time in glory and majesty to rule over the earth. The whole creation longs for the day when “the man of God’s right hand” will appear and restore not only the nation of Israel but the entire world that has been under the curse and the rule of Satan since Adam’s fall. What a day of rejoicing that will be!