O LORD God of hosts, how long will You be angry against the prayer of Your people? You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in great measure . . . Restore us, O God of hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved” (Psalm 80:4-5, 7; see also 3, 19).
Perhaps you have sometimes wondered why God has fed you with the bread of tears and apparently hidden his smiling face from you. You are not alone, as many of the Psalms, the life of Jesus, the career of Paul, and the history of the saints throughout the ages testifies.
What, then, is our prayer? “Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved.” We ask, in short, for personal renewal, a fresh sense of God’s loving favor to us in Christ, and deliverance from our distress.
Note that the word translated “restore” is the same as in Psalm 23:3, “He restores my soul,” and that this verb can also be translated, “Cause to turn,” or, return, to God in repentance and renewed trust.
Certainly, recent difficulties have been used by God to show me sins of which I had not previously been aware, or whose seriousness I had not sufficiently acknowledged. With repentance comes a renewed sense of God’s forgiveness, grace, and favor, as well as renewed energy to seek his face for strength to do his will.