A THREE-FOLD PLEA
by Wayne S. Walker
"Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!" (Psalm 80:19). It is generally believed that Psalm 80 was written during the Babylonian captivity. Three times in this Psalm, the writer makes this plea (vs. 7, 14, 19, with slight variations). Just as God eventually restored Israel to the promised land when they repented, so He has made it possible for us to be restored to a right relationship with Him when we confess our sins (1 John 1:9).
The idea of God’s causing His face to shine is to show His approval. "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace" (Numbers 6:24-26). While God loves everyone, He extends His approval and endorsement only to those who turn from their sins and are reconciled to Him.
It is when we are restored to fellowship with God and have His approval that "we shall be saved." Of course, this is possible only through Jesus Christ. As Paul said, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief" (1 Timothy 1:15). We cannot save ourselves; only Christ can do that. But we must believe in Him, repent of sin, and obey His will.