A sermon idea based on Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19.
Psalm 80:1-2,8-19 NRSV
 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!
 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.  You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.  The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches;  it sent out its branches to the sea, and its shoots to the River.  Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?  The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.
 Turn again, O God of hosts; look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine,  the stock that your right hand planted.  They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of your countenance.  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.
The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…
Sometimes what we need most is to learn how to talk to God as the Shepherd interested in our healing and our salvation.
Information about the text that matters to the message…
From the psalmist’s perspective, Israel has been abandoned by God, probably as a result of their disobedience. The writer never seems to argue that God has been in the wrong for doing so, but he does identify God as the Shepherd who would have a vested interest in the salvation and restoration of his people.
Christians today can learn a great deal from this psalm about how to pray for God, as our Shepherd, to bring healing and restoration to the lives of his people so that we might be a shining example to the rest of the world of the grace and love of God at work.
Restoration is often what we need when we come to the realization that we’re stuck spiritually. That we aren’t growing anymore. That the harmony between us and God has been interrupted by our rebellious tendencies.
In those moments, we can again look to the cross to see just how interested God has been in the salvation of people. And on that basis, we can confidently ask God to come and restore us again.
The big call-to-action in the message…
If you are realizing today that you stand in need of healing and restoration, look to the God who has demonstrated his own commitment to his people with the cross and resurrection of Jesus. Then ask confidently for restoration.
About the Cover Art: Apse Mosaic with Cross and Sant’ Apollinaire with Sheep, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.
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