2002-02-02 - Messiah: His Final Call to Israel
Finally, as we come to Psalm 80, we are, figuratively speaking, treading on holy ground. Through the long vista of centuries opened up by this inspired hymn, the Psalmist sees a penitent Israel prostrate beforeGod, pleading for mercy and deliverance--in the most sacred and sublime hour ofall Jewish history. Realizing the sacredness and holiness of that house and occasion, let us enter into the study of the revelation brought by the inspired poet.
This Psalm naturally falls into divisions : First, a petition addressed to Messiah, the Son of God, found in the following words:
Ps 80:1-3 (ASV) Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock, thou that sittest (above) the cherubim. Shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up thy might, and come to save us. Turn us again, O God; and cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved.
Since the shepherds of Israel (both the religious and political leaders of Ezekiel's day) were corrupt and were failing to perform their duties of shephering the flock, God through the Prophet promises to come and fulfill the duties of the shepherd to His flock, the Jewish people.
Ezek. 34:11-16 (ASV) For thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will deliver them out of all places whither they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them upon the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the nhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture; and upon the mountains of the eight of Israel shall their fold be. There shall they lie down in a good fold; and on fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will cause them to ie down, saith the Lord Jehovah. I will seek that which was lost, and will bring back that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick. But the fat and the strong I will destroy; I will feed them in justice.
In fulfillment of this promise, Jehovah the Son appeared as the "God-man" in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ more than nineteen hundred years ago and purchased eternal redemption for all who will believe Him and accept His free salvation. Not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God, many of the leaders of Israel rejected Him and were the occasion of His being crucified. Foreseeing this turn of events, the prophet Zechariah, in most dramatic manner, foretells thistragedy:
Zech. 13:7 (ASV) Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith Jehovah of hosts. Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn my hand upon the little ones.
After the death of the Son of man, He was buried. But the grave could not hold Him in its grip. The Psalmist David foretold that He would be raised from the dead.
Ps. 16:8-11 (ASV) I have set Jehovah always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth. My flesh also shall dwell in safety. For thou wilt not leave my soul to Sheol; neither wilt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life. In thy presence is fulness of joy; in thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
At the invitation of God, the risen Shepherd of Israel left earth, ascended to Heaven, and sat down on the right hand of the throne of God in Heaven, where He has been ever since.
Ps.110:1 (ASV) Jehovah saith unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
He is awaiting Israel's call for Him to return and to deliever them from all their enemies. The prayer of Psalm 80:1-3 shows that the entire nation of Israel will know who the Shepherd of the nation is, where He is, and His plan to leave glory and to save them from their enemies.
The secondpetition is addressed to Jehovah, "God of Hosts," "God the Father."
Ps. 80:4-19 (ASV) O Jehovah God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people? Thou hast fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in large measure. Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbors; and our enemies laugh among themselves. Turn us again, O God of hosts; and cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved. Thou broughtest a vine out of Egyp: Thou didst drive out the nations, and plantedst it. Thou preparedst (room) before it, and it took deep root, and filled the land. The mountains were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were (like) cedars of God. It sent out its branches unto the sea, and its shoots unto the River. Why hast thou broken down its walls, so that all they that pass by the way do pluck it? The boar out of the wood doth ravage it, and the wild beasts of the field feed on it. Turn again, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from Heaven, and behold, and visit this vine. And the stock which thy right hand planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance. Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. So shall we not go back from thee: quicken thou us, and we will call upon thy name. Turn us again, O Jehovah God of hosts; cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved.
That verses 4-19 are addressed to "God the Father" is indeed evident from verse 17. Jehovah the Father is implored by the penitent worshipers: "Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself." It is clear that the worshipers know the fact concerning the man at God's right hand. In keeping, therfore, with the facts which the people will have learned, they will pray for God the Father to send forth this man, the God-man, from glory to Earth with His blessing resting upon Him. (See Daniel 7:13-14) in Part 52.)
To be continued next week.
In His Service,