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Psalm 80 Feb. 15 For the Chief Musician. To the tune of The Lilies of the Covenant. A Psalm by Asaph.  1Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock, You who sit above the cherubim, shine forth. 2Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up Your might! Come to save us! 3Turn us again, God. Cause Your face to shine, and we will be saved.  4Yahweh God of Armies, How long will You be angry against the prayer of Your people? 5You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in large measure. 6You make us a source of derision to our neighbours, our enemies laugh among themselves. 7Turn us again, God of Armies. Cause Your face to shine, and we will be saved. 8You brought a vine out of Egypt, You drove out the nations and planted it. 9You cleared the land for it. It took deep root, and filled the land; 10the mountains were covered with its shadow. Its boughs were like God’s cedars. 11It sent out its branches to the sea, its shoots to the River. 12Why have You broken down its walls, so that all those who pass by the way pluck it? 13The boar out of the wood ravages it, the wild beasts of the field feed on it. 14Turn again, we beg You, God of Armies. Look down from heaven and see, and visit this vine, 15the stock which Your right hand planted, the branch that You made strong for Yourself. 16It’s burned with fire. It’s cut down. They perish at Your rebuke. 17Let Your hand be on the man of Your right hand, on the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself. 18So we will not turn away from You; accept us, and we will call on Your name. 19Turn us again, Yahweh God of Armies. Cause Your face to shine, and we will be saved.   


80:9 You cleared the land for it- Potentially, God drove out all the nations in the land of Canaan so that the vine of Israel could grow there without contamination and be spiritually fruitful. But in fact Israel failed to drive out many of the tribes and they remained to be a spiritual thorn to Israel’s spirituality. In potential, so much was made possible, just as it is for God’s people today; but it requires us to go and realize that potential in faith.
80:12 Why have You broken down its walls- Surely Asaph knew that the nations around the borders of Israel had been allowed by God to invade because of Judah’s sinfulness. Asaph in several Psalms appears to underestimate the seriousness of Judah’s sin and the rightness and necessity of God’s judgment, despite the prophets of his time making these things crystal clear. Yet for all his misunderstanding and wilful ignorance, he still displays faith and God worked with him and inspired the recording of his Psalms. For all ourignorance and misunderstandings [and those of others amongst God’s people], God still hears our prayers.