Wisdom from the Psalms
There are so many wonderful things said in the Psalms about God and His relationship to His children. It gives us such insight on how to pray and what we can ask God to do in our lives. We find many of the Psalm writers are frustrated with their circumstances and complain and whine to God, just like we do. However, they always find their way back to praising God in the end and actually asking Him for all kinds of help.
In Psalm 80 there is a repeated phrase that is revealing about what God can and will do for us if we but ask. Asaph is the writer of this particular Psalm and he is asking God to rescue Israel. Apparently, this is one of the many times that Israel has abandoned God and now they are begging Him to “revive them so they can call on His name once more.” (80:18b)
Three times in this Psalm (vv. 3,7,19) Asaph says, “Turn us again to yourself, O God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down on us. Only then will we be saved.” Notice that the Psalmist indicates that God does the turning-back to Him. We don’t. Just like the Father initially draws us to salvation, He turns us back to Him when we get off the path. He only asks that we ask Him.
We Need God’s Help to Return
These verses show us that we need God to help us turn back to Him. In our humanity, when we realize we’ve drifted from God, we try to get ourselves back with Him. We pray more, study the Bible more, serve more, continually trying to renew our relationship with Him. The truth is, all we ever needed to do is to ask Him to turn us back to Him. He is the only one with this power, despite our very good intentions.
God makes it so simple. Complain to Him (as the His earliest children did), tell Him you feel distanced from Him and then ask Him to turn your wandering heart back to Him. He will do it, again and again! He will make His glorious face to shine upon you. Only then will you be saved.