By Brooke Holt
“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.” Psalm 80:1
One of the most frustrating things for me is talking to someone who is not truly listening. In these situations, I can see the person is distracted or sometimes even uninterested in what I am saying. It is hurtful as I feel unimportant and that my words have no value.
As Asaph writes this Psalm, he is asking the Lord to come and listen to him. And not just listen but listen with a Shepherd’s ears and heart. Asaph knew of the Lord’s goodness to his people; he knew of the salvific works of the Lord and of his covenant with the nation of Israel.
Beyond being a God of faithfulness, Asaph knew that God was majestic and exalted above all things. He acknowledged that the Lord sat enthroned in heaven upon the cherubim. It was to this Shepherd King that Asaph would pour out his heart, his need, and his desperate cry for the Lord to shine forth his glory upon his people once again.
This psalm was composed in a time of adversity for the nation of Israel. Due to their hardness of heart and disobedience, the Lord had withdrawn his presence, protection, and provision. Later in the Psalm, Asaph would write that their food and drink were their tears and that they had become an object of ridicule and scorn among the surrounding nations (see Psalm 80:4-6). What was the hope of Israel? Only that the Shepherd would hear their cry, pour out his grace, and shine forth his glory once again.
Isn’t that what we are about to celebrate on Christmas day? Indeed, the Lord has heard the cries of his people, broken through the barriers of sin, death, and evil, and made the way for people to be fully reconciled to a holy God. Jesus is the Good Shepherd; the way, the truth, and the life; as well as the light shining into the darkness (John 10:14,14:6, 1:5).
Jesus has come; Jesus will come again; and the one who sits enthroned upon the cherubim is the same God who hears your every prayer. God has heard his people and provided the way of salvation for all who will look to the Son. May we receive this glorious gift today and every day until that day he comes again to establish the new heaven and earth.
Do you consider who you are praying to – the one enthroned in heaven upon the cherubim? Then, do you give thanks that he has heard your every prayer and has brought his light to shine into the darkness? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Our honest prayer before God is evidence that we understand the ways He loves, cherishes, sees, and hears us. Through prayer, we can acknowledge with Hagar, “You are the living One who sees me” (Genesis 16:14). When we pray, we are affirming the same. Why do we often hide from this privilege? Why do we avoid God, the One who sees us as we are and stands ready to provide and answer us in his holy, timely way? In this 8-week study on the prayers of Job, Ruth, Hannah, and David, grow your prayer life by facing your honest need and bringing your whole self before God. Acknowledging God as the One who guides your path can change your heart. It can take you past fear and into faith, strength, and hope. Learn more about Honest Prayer.
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