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Summary: God’s people are vulnerable, and sometimes they foolishly become sidetracked. The Psalmist seeks to plead his case by bringing up God’s special relationship to his people.

Please Restore Us!

(Psalm 80)

1. When our kids were at home, we had a plastic swimming pool in the back yard.

2. One day, we went to the park and caught crayfish. We made the pool into a crayfish haven.

3. A couple of days later, we heard a noise from our kitchen window. We looked and off scurried a raccoon. We checked the pool — he had feasted on an equivalent of a lobster dinner. Not one was left.

4. We did not realize how vulnerable the crayfish were to predators, esp. here in town. But we are all vulnerable, although we are often unaware of it.

Main idea: God’s people are vulnerable, and sometimes they foolishly become sidetracked. The Psalmist seeks to plead his case by bringing up God’s special relationship to his people.

TS ————-> The illustrations include an animal, a plant, and a human son. Each one of these is layered, used for Israel, applies in principle to we believers, and is perfectly illustrated in Jesus Christ.

I. Israel: A Flock of Sheep in Danger of STARVATION (1-7)

A. The contrast: Israel’s SHEPHERD is well off (1)

B. The people are in need of God’s GRACE (2-4. 7).

1. Joseph, Ephraim, Manasseh — northern tribes

2. Perhaps during the time of 2 Kings 13:7

“For there was not left to Jehoahaz an army of more than fifty horsemen and ten chariots and ten thousand footmen, for the king of Syria had destroyed them and made them like the dust at threshing.”

3. It was obvious that God was disciplining the nation

4. The Psalmist asks for God’s grace by using language familiar to all:

Numbers 6:24-26, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

5. Almost all the verse defines grace, while the last mentions Shalom, peace.

C. In need of food, not TEARS (5-6)

Tears are part of life, but when we have nothing but tears but little food, life is loathsome indeed.

D. We, too, need NURTURE and grace.

Physical sheep need green pastures. God’s children need the nurture of His Word. A balanced diet in the Word is crucial (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Rickets is the softening and weakening of bones in children, usually because of an extreme and prolonged vitamin D deficiency.

Beriberi is a disease caused by a vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency… It affects the heart and circulatory system… can cause heart failure… damages the nerves and can lead to a loss of muscle strength and eventually, muscle paralysis. Beriberi can be life-threatening if it isn’t treated.

E. Jesus is the PERFECT Lamb! (unlike Israel & Us, who can be straying sheep)

WE NEED GOD TO SHEPHERD US; WE ARE VULNERABLE TO PREDATORS

II. Israel: A Cultivated Vine VULNERABLE to Destruction (8-15a)

Illustration: In Virginia, we went to an mazing large nursery with plants you don’t see in smaller nurseries. We bought some and transported them to Kokomo. One low-growing groundcover pot looks like it might not make it. We will plant it, water it, and hope the roots are still strong and that the plant will emerge next year. TLC.

A. God’s TRACK RECORD of cultivating Israel (8-9)

B. The vine spread amazingly under SOLOMON (10-12).

C. God removed His HEDGE of protection (13-15a).

Isaiah 5:5-7, “And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.

“I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.

“For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, an outcry!”

• Israel was reduced in size after Solomon, divided by civil war into two nations, and was often living under the thumb of stronger empires, yet God worked in lives, and some of Judah’s best kings — Hezekiah & Josiah — reigned during those lesser times.

• Loss avoidance is one of our greatest struggles; learning to be happy when things used to be better is a skill necessary to happiness in life/ wise living.

• People do all sorts of foolish things to avoid loss…sometimes best to accept

• Refusing to accept loss does not help us avoid it, but makes it more painful

D. God protects us with ANGELS and may remove that protection to discipline us (Hebrews 1:14, 2 Kings 6:14-17, Matthew 18:10, Daniel 10:12-13, I Corinthians 5:5).

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