Psalm 80 and God's sovereignty

Henry Ossawa Tanner - Jesus and nicodemus

God's sovereignty in life and salvation is challenged in every generation, even though the Scriptures are clear.

Brief thoughts from my morning Bible study

The sovereignty of God in salvation is clear from Psalm 80. Salvation of man and redemption of a nation only occurs when God initiates and shines His face upon us. Sound familiar? Well, the Bible is consistent all the way through. Paul says; "for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph 2:8-9). Salvation belongs to the Lord. God "'will have mercy on whomever [He] will have mercy, and [He] will have compassion on whomever [He] will have compassion.' So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy" (Romans 9:15-16).

Getting back to Psalm 80, we hear the sovereignty of God in salvation three times (verses 3, 7 & 19): "restore us, O God; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!" We cannot choose for God without Him first shining His face upon us. Put another way, we cannot love God without Him first loving us (1 John 4:19). Our salvation rests entirely in the sovereignty, mercy and love of our Father in heaven. As sinful creatures who are dead in trespasses (Colossians 2:13, Ephesians 2:1) we cannot even come to Jesus unless the Father draws us and has given us to the Son (John 6:44). Those dead in sin need the miracle of new birth to repent, see, desire and enter the kingdom of heaven (John 3:5-8).

Psalm 80

"To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Lilies.” a Testimony of Asaph. A Psalm.

1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock;
You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!
2 Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh,
Stir up Your strength,
And come and save us!
3 Restore us, O God;
Cause Your face to shine,
And we shall be saved!
4 O Lord God of hosts,
How long will You be angry
Against the prayer of Your people?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears,
And given them tears to drink in great measure.
6 You have made us a strife to our neighbors,
And our enemies laugh among themselves.
7 Restore us, O God of hosts;
Cause Your face to shine,
And we shall be saved!
8 You have brought a vine out of Egypt;
You have cast out the nations, and planted it.
9 You prepared room for it,
And caused it to take deep root,
And it filled the land.
10 The hills were covered with its shadow,
And the mighty cedars with its boughs.
11 She sent out her boughs to the Sea,
And her branches to the River.
12 Why have You broken down her hedges,
So that all who pass by the way pluck her fruit?
13 The boar out of the woods uproots it,
And the wild beast of the field devours it.
14 Return, we beseech You, O God of hosts;
Look down from heaven and see,
And visit this vine
15 And the vineyard which Your right hand has planted,
And the branch that You made strong for Yourself.
16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down;
They perish at the rebuke of Your countenance.
17 Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand,
Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself.
18 Then we will not turn back from You;
Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.
19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
Cause Your face to shine,
And we shall be saved!"

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