KEY TEXT: Psalms 80:14-15 Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, the stock that your right hand planted, and for the son whom you made strong for yourself.
KEY THOT: The psalmist recalls how God has brought Israel out of Egypt, drove out the ungodly nations to plant Israel as his vineyard in Canaan. Israel flourished and grew, filling the land. But now the walls built to protect the vineyard of Israel are broken down. Wild boars and animals have ravaged the vineyard, and Israel is being destroyed. The psalmist cries out to God three times to restore Israel, the Vineyard of God: "Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! (vv. 3,7,19). When the walls are breached, the people of God become vulnerable to the enemies' attacks. And it's time to cry out to God to repair the breaches to save God's people from being devoured by the enemy of our souls: "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
What caused the walls to be breached? Disobedience and unbelief. When Israel no longer put obedience to the Lord's word as priority and replaced it with the worship of Baals and other gods, then the walls surrounding and protecting the vineyard are breached. When the walls are breached, Satan has an opportunity to infiltrate the ranks of God's people to sow confusion, doubt and fear. Enemies of God will then devour and destroy what God has planted and built up over the years.
One way to resist the enemy is through our prayers and intercession. The psalmist prayed three times: "Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!" Our battle is not against "flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12). We have to engage the enemy of God by putting on our spiritual armour which is energized by prayer: "praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication" (Ephesians 6:18).
But let's make sure we have put on our spiritual armour before we engage in intercessory prayer:
- Belt of truth: Counter Satan's lies with God's truths. Be like the Bereans--always check everything you hear with Scriptures to see if it is true (Acts 17:11);
- Breastplate of righteousness: Counter Satan's temptations by keeping ourselves cleansed from all unrighteousness through the confession of all known sins (1 John 1:9);
- Shoes of the gospel of peace: Counter Satan's push-backs by attacking his kingdom and setting his captives free through the relentless proclamation of the gospel of peace. Do not be intimidated and turn back: there is no protection for our backs (Mt. 16:18);
- Shield of faith: Counter Satan's doubts and deception by putting our faith in what God says in His word, not what man says. Anything that sows doubts and fears are from man, not God (Mt.16:23);.
- Helmet of salvation: Counter Satan's toxic thoughts in our minds by renewing our minds with positive thoughts: "whatever is true... honorable... just... pure... lovely... commendable, if there is any excellence... worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philippians 4:8)
- Sword of the Spirit: Counter Satan's strongholds established in our mind, emotion and body by cutting them off with the sword of Spirit which is the Word of God.
Many walls in the lives of Christians and churches have been breached. They need to be restored by getting rid of fear, anxiety and doubts. Only God's word soaked in prayer will be able to revive God's people and restore God's presence in our midst. For when Gods presence is restored, the people of God will flourish again and continue to grow in quality and quantity.
Abba-Father, nothing is impossible with You. For You can restore in our lives what the enemies have stolen. Restore us O Lord God of hosts! Let Your face shine, that Your people may be saved! Amen.