The burden and cry for revival and for restoration becomes so acute when you know what God has done in the past. The prayer burden in this Psalm is revival and how I need to hold God’s hands for my life and for all that God has started to do with me and in me.
Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her? The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it. Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance. Psalms 80:12-16
The question “Why has thou then broken down her hedges? Why will you allow all they which pass by the way do pluck her? The boar out of the wood does come to waste this vine and the wild beast of the field does devour it… Why will God who took this vine out of Egypt and prepared a room for it to take a deep root also allow it to be so destroyed? This is what sin in the heart can do. Sin destroys and reduces a man to a piece of bread. Sin breaks down the hedges and makes a man vulnerable to the passers by. Sin in the heart exposes a man to the danger of the boar and the wild beast of the field. Sin takes away the canopy of grace from over a man’s head and exposes him to the scotching heat of the sun and the striking of the moon by night. Sin turns the eyes of The Lord away from a man, no matter the divine investment God has made in his life. Sin is one thing I must dread and not play around with.
Sin will pluck a man from its deep roots and cause him to wither in a short time. Sin ridicules a man who has been in honor with God’s covering. Sin most importantly cuts a man off from God and isolates him for slaughter. It throws him out in the open for any beast of the field to devour him and trample upon him as salt that has lost its savor. O Lord, this is the dread of my heart today. Sin will bring any man down no matter the height he has climbed with God. Sin reduces him to a piece of bread, a mere shadow of his past and a piece of exhibit of defeat. Those who pass by will then begin to say “This vine used to be so blessed, see how dry it has become now”
As I look at this Psalm of prayer again, I can see the issue and the crux of every decay. It has always been the departure of a man from his own source of life. It is the withdrawal of the presence of God from a man. It is the gradual loss of communion with God that culminates into this kind of dryness. The only way out is to return to The Lord and for God to turn His eyes again to this vine of His. All the boars of the wood and the wild beasts of the field only take the advantage of divine withdrawal to inflict their own damage. ‘If God be for us and if God be with us, who can be against us and succeed?’ but the converse is very true and more sobering. “If God be against us, where shall we find refuge? Who can be for us as a succor from His fierce wrath? If God looks away from us, whose countenance will bring us warmth of life? If the way of a man displeases The Lord, He will cause all his enemies to be in conflict and in battle with him” This is the more fearful aspect of letting anything come between me and my Lord.
Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;
This is the cry and this is the solution to the matter of this spiritual decay. It is not first a combat with the boars of the woods and the wild beasts of the field that came to devour… it is to beseech The Lord of hosts to return and to look down from heaven and cast His loving eyes again upon this vine. It is His visitation that will bring the restoration. Visit this vine is my cry. Your visitation is what I need every time. If you visit this your vine, it will blossom again and sprout and bud and bring forth fruits to the praise of your glory.
The bane of a man’s life is when God looks away from him. A work withers immediately as soon as God turns His face away. The challenge is not the devil, he only comes to exploit a bad situation of a broken communion with God. My walk with God must be kept in top form and I will be assured of His eye upon me and all the work I am involved in.
(Article by Brother Gbile Akanni and originally published in livingseed.org)