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80. Psalm 80

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.

2Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us.

3Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

4O Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?

5Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure.

6Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves.

7Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

8Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.

9Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.

10The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars.

11She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river.

12Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her?

13The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.

14Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;

15And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.

16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.

17Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.

18So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.

19Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

4 O Jehovah, God of Hosts! God having in the Scriptures freely promised, and so often assured us, that the prayers of his people will not be disappointed, it may excite our surprise to find the faithful here alleging before him, that he continues unpacified, although they betake themselves to him. They complain not only that they are not heard, but also that he is angry, when they call upon him; as if he purposely rejected this religious service. Where, then, it may be said, is that promise recorded in Isaiah 65:24, “Before they call I will answer?” To this I would answer, That as God, by delaying to succor his people, tries their patience, the prophet, speaking according to the judgment of the flesh, represents him as deaf to their prayers. Not that it is proper for those who pray to rest in this opinion, which would throw an insuperable obstacle in their way to the throne of grace. It rather becomes them to strive to cherish, in opposition to it, the judgment of faith; and to penetrate even into heaven, where they may behold a hidden salvation. But still God permits them, the more effectually to disburden their minds, to tell him of the cares, anxieties, griefs, and fears, with which they are distressed. In the mention here made of the smoke of God’s wrath, there appears to be an implicit allusion to the incense which was used in the sacrifices under the law. The smoke of the incense served to purify the air; but the Israelites complain that the heavens were so obscured by a different smoke, that their sighs could not come up to God.


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