Psalm 80:4-7 - O LORD God of hosts, how long will You be angry with Your people's prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us an object of contention for our neighbors, and our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let Your face shine, that we may be saved!
It is not unusual to hear in the psalms a plea for God to answer the psalmist's personal prayers. In Psalm 39:12a, the psalmist says, "Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry," or in Psalm 61:1, he calls out, "Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer." In today's psalm, the petition is different. The psalmist pleads with God, not for himself, but on behalf of the people of Israel. The Israelites are nearly drowning in their tears. God has given them tears to eat and drink. To make matters worse, enemies ridicule the Israelites, laughing among themselves and no doubt mocking a God who apparently refuses to hear the prayers of His own people.
We know what it means to drown in our tears. Through fear, illness and grief, it may appear—at least from an earthly point of view—that God is not listening and that He has given us "tears to drink in full measure." Unbelievers mock what they perceive as the utter futility of prayer; they deny the existence of a God who hears and answers prayer.
Yet we are not alone with our tears. During His earthly ministry, our Lord wept, too. His tears at Lazarus' tomb impressed the gathered mourners with Jesus' love for His friend. Jesus wept over Jerusalem and the suffering that would come to the city that rejected its Messiah. On the cross, Jesus cried out to His Father, and while we do not know if the Savior shed tears of pain and desolation, He endured the ridicule of His enemies as they laughed at His unanswered prayers: "He trusts in God; let God deliver Him now, if He desires Him" (Matthew 27:43a).
We know that Jesus' prayers were heard and answered. "In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence" (Hebrews 5:7). The reverent, obedient Son of God suffered and died on the cross, but the Father saved His Son from the corruption of death and raised Him up to become the Source of our salvation. In the Person of Christ Jesus, God Himself has shed tears and He sees our tears. For the sake of His Son, He forgives our sins and hears our prayers. In Christ we are restored and saved. We now live in the light that is the shining face of God's favor. We will, at times, shed anguished tears on earth, but one day we will live in God's presence forever, and He will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, for the sake of Your Son, remember our tears and hear and answer our prayers. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Have you recently been "down" because of life? How are you doing now?
2. Could the psalmist's prayer be one that is said of the church today?
3. Do your prayers include the church, our nation, and believers around the world?
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