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“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. . . . Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved, . . . Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. . . . Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved,” Psalm 80:1, 3, 7, 19.
The opening verse brings us to the days of Israel marching to the promised land. The placement of the tribes was ordained of God. The three tribes mentioned here followed after the Kohathites who carried the Ark of the Covenant, the very symbol of God’s presence amongst His people.
“And the Kohathites set forward, bearing the sanctuary: and the other did set up the tabernacle against they came. And the standard of the camp of the children of Ephraim set forward according to their armies,” Num 10:21-22.
When the people of God are going forward as God intends them to proceed then their eyes will ever be on the blood-sprinkled Ark. It is there that God meets with us. “And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel,” Exodus 25:22.
If we are in communion with God this is where we will be.
Of course this is a symbol of the very place we seek to enter today.
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water,” Hebrews 10:19-22.
The Psalmist repeatedly asks for a “shining forth.” In Psalm 94:1 the word is translated “shew thyself.” That is what we look for today.We come to “see the Lord”. Not with the physical eye but with the eyes of faith. Hebs 1:1, 27.
I want us to consider the repeated request today.
I. PLEASE NOTE THAT IT IS IN THE PLACE OF PRAYER THAT WE WILL SEE OUR NEED AND OWN IT.
“Turn us.” We need turning from backsliding. Word means: ‘recover’!
1. Do we see the evidence of our backsliding? Verses 4-6,12-13, 16.
2. Are we willing to humbly and brokenly acknowledge it.
3. Will we pray for restoration? There is a price to pay!
II. UNDERSTANDING OUR NEED, WE SEE THE MERCY OF GOD MORE CLEARLY.
1. At best our view of God’s mercy is limited. At best, we “see through a glass darkly,” 1 Cor 13:12.
2. In the place of prayer the blessings we have lost sight of come before us again. Verses 8-11. How we have forgotten (occupied with other things) what the Lord has done for us! Jer 2:32, 3:21.
3. Here is where God reveals Himself. Ps 94:1.
III. THE SHOWING OF GOD’S FACE IN THE PRAYER MEETING IS OUR SALVATION
1. In the face of the Lord we see ALL His mercy toward us. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” 2 Corinthians 4:6.
There is a clarity spoken of here.
2. Seeing it clearly we do not hesitate to claim in faith the blessings. Vague understandings of God’s mercy breeds unbelief!
3. Thus in the prayer meeting the victory is gained. “So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad,” 1 Samuel 1:18.
That is what Jehoshaphat learned. “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you. And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD,” 2 Chronicles 20:17-8.
Seeing God’s mercy and power let us claim the victory today.