“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” (Psalm 80:1- 3)
“Restore us.” The Jews by the time of Jesus had been conquered, occupied and dragged away as prisoners and slaves. Even in their own home lands of Jerusalem, Nazareth, Galilee and Bethlehem they did not have their own say over their own affairs. Being saved and restored were important hopes and dreams to them. The coming of the Messiah was supposed to be the beginning of the end of domination and oppression. And the beginning of a better relationship with their God.
“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 the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” (Verses 4 – 7)
Even as they were when they demanded of Samuel a king like the other nations, appearance was very important. Stature and image were very important. Having a good reputation and standing was very important. Finding favor in the eyes of others had become synonymous with having favor in the eyes of their God. Or at least, that is my line of reasoning that I am putting forth at this moment. Humanity then is not so different than humanity now. Society wants to look good, and have the perception that their God is on their side. And we feel that way . . .
“But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself. Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name. Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” (Verses 17 – 19)
But the truth is, the Jews of Jesus’ time were not ready for, or expecting, the type of Messiah that God had sent. It took some time, and some readjusting of there thinking for the disciples and the followers of Jesus to realize that the way of living Jesus exemplified was the better way. A way of gaining stature not by outward appearances but inward confirming to the statutes of God.
Even today there is a variation in the way God is viewed and perceived. I am not going to be prescriptive of which type of God; I know the type of God I believe in, and the type of God Jesus points to. The time of Advent is one of preparation so we can be ready for and accept the Messiah that was sent and the purpose Christ the Messiah was sent for. May you beloved reader perceive and prepare for the coming of the baby Jesus, and the Son of God he grew into. Selah!