Malankara World

Suffering - Overcoming The Storms of Life

Facing Trials and Tribulations in Life with God

A Humble Prayer in Distress: "Turn Us Again"

by Ralph Bouma

Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. (Psalm 80:19)

This psalm written by Asaph denotes a humble prayer in distress. The context is a deplorable condition Asaph sees that has come upon the church of God. The church of God in times past was so blessed with Godís nearness and the shining of His face.

Asaph complains in verses 12 and 13:

"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."

He is looking at a deeply sunken condition of the church. He is looking at the Zion of God having lost the sunshine of his love, having lost the tender love of God.

We read in verse 18:

"So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name."

He is bemoaning the dead state of the church.

What a blessing it is when fallen man learns to realize the Lordís displeasure upon sin and can truly cry out with Asaph in Psalm 80:19:

"Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved."

He is talking about bringing us back into that former blessed state in which the church has fallen. He is pleading for the sunshine of His face, for the shining of the precious love of God in the church. He sees how the Lord has withdrawn, how the candlestick has been removed because the church has fallen in sin.

This past week a day was designated as World Prayer Day, and I believe there is a day yet set aside for world prayer. May that be the prayer of the world. If we see the condition of the world today, if we see the condition of the professed church, then we have to pray as we see in Psalm 80:3, 7, 19. It is repeated three times in this psalm.

Each time he is saying:

"Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved."

In other words: Come with the drawing power of the sunshine of your love. Draw us and we will follow after You.

We read in verse 7:

"Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved."

Each time he bemoans the condition of the church.

We read in verses 1 and 2:

"Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us."

Then we see a similar thing preceding verse 7. We read in verses 4 to 6:

"O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people? 
Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure. Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves."

When we talk about a World Prayer Day we have to understand what that is. We want to come to God with an acceptable prayer.

If we turn to Isaiah 58, I want to show you how the Lord shows us what is acceptable prayer.

Verse 1 says:

"Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins."

We read in verses 4 through 7:

"Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 
Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?"

See what the Lord wants in the way of repentance and how He tells us that our prayers are not being heard because we do not come in the right spirit. We as a nation must return and repent to the Lord.

We read in Psalm 80:5-6:

"Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure. Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves."

See the lamentation of the condition of the church. When we consider World Prayer Day where must we begin? We must begin with a prayer that the Lord will return, that He will turn us again, that He will turn the nation back to serving the living God, that He will turn us back to seeking the Lord.

Oh what a blessing if the prayer contained in our text would truly be the cry of every human heart. What a blessing it would be that the world would come to the place where they would pray, Turn us again, oh Lord, that this nation that was known the world over and was founded on Christian principles, would again return to those principles, that the churches within the nation and in the world would again turn to godly principles as we just read in Isaiah 58, that they would turn again to the authority of Godís Word.

In our days spiritual Zion is in a low state. We may well say as we find in the context of our text in Psalm 80:12-13:

"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."

This is talking about the church of Christ. We are talking about those who profess to be the Christians of this world.

Verse 14 says:

"Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine."

What a precious thing it would be if our hearts would truly all come in perfect harmony before the throne of God, and pray what we see in this verse, seeing the deplorable condition unto which the church has fallen, and ask God to come with the Spirit of Christ and heal it.

The covenant of circumcision was the hedge God placed round about his vineyard to keep out the wild "boar," that is, the unrepentant ones. It is those who have never turned from their evil ways and yet they come into the church of God and profess Christianity. The unrepentant have entered the church, and it has wasted the church because they set the standards of the church.

I want you to see in Ezekiel 44:7: "In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations."

That is the hedge. That is the guideline that is used to determine who can enter the church. Those who are circumcised of heart and the flesh are those who can come under the blood of Christ, who can come under that sanctification and work of grace. Without this there is no spiritual repentance in the heart. Neither is there repentance in their walk of life. They still go on in their iniquities, and yet they are brought into the church and are told: Peace, peace, when there is no peace. They are preached peace under the blood of the cross without a repenting spirit.

The churches today have allowed the unrepentant to be members, and to preach to them that they have peace under the blood of the cross. Those who are unrepentant are being brought into and preached to that they are under the peace of God under the blood of Christ.

Verse 8 says: "And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves."

They have not kept the authority of the Word of God. They have allowed the Word of God to be trampled under their feet. They have come to decide what is right and what is wrong.

We read in verse 9: "Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel."

Anyone who is a stranger to the work of regeneration, anyone who is a stranger to the work of grace, anyone who is a stranger to the work of repentance, may not be brought in and told that they have peace under the blood of the cross.

Today the professed church of Christ has fallen so low that when politicians are reproved for taking a public stand for abortion they defy the authority of the church to discipline them. The church becomes helpless because it has come to the point that the majority of the church say they have no need of repentance. This is what has come upon those who profess the name of Christ.

The professed church has come to what Christ spoke of in Matthew 21:33: "Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country."

The Lord Jesus Christ speaks of a hedge about the church. The winepress signifies the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. The hedge about it is the covenant of circumcisionórepentance in the heart and repentance in the walk of life.

Continuing in verse 34 we read: "And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it."

The Lord is looking for the fruit of repentance in His vineyard. The servants in His vineyard must be judged by their fruits.

That is what the Lord tells us in Matthew 7. Speaking of false prophets, He says: You will know them by their fruits, by the fruits of repentance as a result of his work in the congregation, in the vineyard.

We read in verses 35 and 36: "And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise."

This is exactly what happens today. When the church says that someone cannot be a member of the church and stand publicly in favor of abortion, they throw stones at the ministry and the church to try to intimidate them. They stone the faithful servants of God. They throw stones at those who come against them with iniquity.

We read in verses 37 and 38: "But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance."

This is happening in churches today. They seize on the death of Christ for the inheritance, but there is no fruit. The fruit of repentance is missing.

Lord God of heaven, come down with your Holy Spirit and draw a spirit of repentance back into the church because they are preaching that we can seize on the death of the Son for the inheritance without the fruit.

The missing fruits Jesus was speaking of in his rebuke of the Pharisees was synonymous with Matthew 3:7-8: "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for [that is, in harmony with] repentance."

See again the rebuke for the lack of repentance pointed to the leaders of the church. We are to pray that the Lord would give us leaders in the church who are faithful to the Word of God. What is missing in the churches today is the preaching of repentance.

As we see the condition of the church today we must cry out with the Psalmist,

"Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved."

We need for the sunshine of the face of God to again shine on the church, that He will restore them, that He will draw them again to righteousness, that He will draw them again to repentance, that He will draw them again to the authority of the Word of God.

The verse preceding our text teaches us the first thing we need to turn. We read in Psalm 80:18b: "Quicken us, and we will call upon thy name."

This is a confession of the deadness in the church, that lack of love, that lack of the Spirit, that lack of the quickening grace of God. Then there will come a true prayer to God. This is what we need to pray for the Lord to do in our day, that He will come with the quickening grace of His Spirit in the churches, that He will bring the truth, that He will bring the recognition of the authority of His Word, so we will not be gainsaying the Word of God and throwing stones at His faithful servants who proclaim the sinfulness of sin. We need to pray that there will be a tenderness and a turning.

If we would examine our own hearts for where we must ask God to turn us then we would say with David in Psalm 26:2-3: "Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth."

When you and I are going to pray for the Lord to turn us, if we really study the prayers of Daniel, we see that he did not exclude himself. We have sinned. You and I have to be so careful that we do not become judgmental and that we stand higher than our neighbors.

The desire of my heart may be to the utmost to walk in the truth of God, but as I bemoan the state of the church, the prayer has to begin with, Lord, examine me. If I start throwing a stone at my brother and pass judgment on him, then I am judging the law, and then I become a judge. I must plead before the Lord, Turn us, O Lord, not, Turn them. We need the Lordís grace to turn our hearts that they are right before the Lord.

Those who love the truth come to the light that their deeds may be made manifest as in Psalm 139:23-24: "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

It starts in my heart. I have to first examine my own heart.

The desire of the upright is found in Psalm 51:10: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."

I was talking to a man the other day about how it is so dry and that we need rain. Yeah, he said, but you know I can live as good as I want to, but if my neighbors do not, there is still no rain. Where does it begin? I have to examine my heart, and I have to come before the Lord and say, Lord, I do not deserve rain. The Lord says, Only acknowledge your iniquities.

Jeremiah 3:3 says, "Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whoreís forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed."

He is talking about His church in general. This is speaking of spiritual adultery.

Look what it says in verse 13: "Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD."

I should not pray, Lord, I know my neighbor is doing this, and the neighbor over there is doing that, therefore it is certainly just for the Lord to withhold rain. Do you know what I need? I have to acknowledge my iniquity. When I pass judgment on my neighbor, I am in spiritual adultery.

Not only should we confess and acknowledge our sin, but we must turn from sin as we read in verse 14: "Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion."

He is talking to His church. He is talking to the bride of Christ who have fallen into spiritual adultery, who have fallen into a backslidden condition. This is what we have to bemoan, not only as a nation, but as a church, and as people and as individuals.

Asaph saw how the Zion of God, that is, the living family of God, had left its first love. He was not talking about the world. He was not talking about the unregenerate, or those who have never known God, but he was talking about Godís true family.

We read in Psalm 80:8-12: "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her?"

This nation, this United States of America, was a Christian nation. It was founded on Christian principles. The Word of God was the authority upon which the Constitution of the nation was built. The laws of the land were based on the Word of God. This was a nation that sought after God and did righteousness, but this nation has fallen, and not only the nation, but the church. Why has the nation fallen? Because the church has fallen.

We may well say as a nation, "Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine," when we see the professed churches questioning whether homosexuality is compatible with Christianity. It is becoming a strife in the church, I mean to the point of whether it is going to be brought in as an acceptable act of Christianity. I mean to the point of the majority upholding it.

We see in 1 Peter 4:17: "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"

We have to be able to say, What does the Word of God say? We do not decide these things as a democracy and do what the majority rules. No, the Lord is the majority even if no man is on His side. The authority of His Word must be absolute. This is what has been forsaken in the churches today.

We do not have to go to churches that have gone quite that far and say that the authority of Godís Word has been forsaken. The authority of Godís Word has been forsaken almost universally in the churches today. Find me a church where it has not been for forsaken, where thus saith the Lord is the end of all strife. Well, but, I believe..., or Well, but, someone said..., or Someone wrote..., and they start gainsaying the authority of the Word of God and perverting the Word of God to such an extent that they are not even sure whether homosexuality is an acceptable form for Christians.

We read in 1 Peter 4:18: "And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"

Judgment begins at the house of God, and those who disobey the gospel of God are counted as the ungodly and as the sinner. These have come within the church, and have now become the majority in the church to the extent that they can now bring iniquity by majority vote as n acceptable form within the church.

When the Lord will "cause [His] face to shine," it shall burn as an oven upon the wicked, but unto those who fear His name it shall be for their healing.

We pray: Turn, O Lord, and let your face shine, and when it does, that shining of the face of God will come as a burning oven against those who love iniquity, those who love not the truth.

We read in Malachi 4:1-2: "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall."

When we pray that the Lord will arise, that He will shine forth with His face, we are asking that He will purge His church. Those who fear God will come under the healing of the Sun of righteousness.

That precious Light that shines into the heart will purify the hearts of His dear children. You can have all kinds of diseases, but when the warmth of the sun comes, then things begin to flourish in nature. If you have been sitting inside and have not had the sun, you become sick, but if you get out in the sunshine and fresh air, it has a healing effect.

When the Sun of righteousness arises, it will purify the hearts of the children of God. We read in Malachi 3:2-3: "But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refinerís fire, and like fullersí soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness."

He is going to purify the Levites, the leaders of the church, those He has sent to feed His flock. The iniquity, the unrighteousness, the unrepentant, the wild boar, will again be put out. All this serving of sin and serving of the flesh will be taken out of His church.

In praying, "Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved," we must remember that turning begins with each of us as individuals. Then we can ask for it in a wider sense. It is not a matter of going out and saying, I want so and so to turn, and I see that man doing this, and that man doing that. Pretty soon I become somewhat like a little governor trying to govern the hearts of everyone else. That turning begins with me, in my heart and attitude. Then I can be a light to the world, then my walk of humility and self-sacrificial love are what the Lord might use to turn others to Him.

It is not a matter of looking for a nation to turn to God as a nation, it is a matter of looking for individuals to turn to Him.

Can I ask for the Lord to turn my neighbor when I am walking in iniquity? Before we can ask for it in a wider sense, we must understand what it is to seek that the Lord will give us to walk in ways that are pleasing in His sight.

When we pray, "Cause Thy face to shine," we are asking for the effect the sun has naturally on Godís creation. Its warmth has not only a healing effect, but it promotes growth. When the sun shines on crops, we see them flourish and grow. That is what we want within the church. We want to see growth in the church.

As we grow in grace we grow smaller and smaller in ourselves. That is what we want to see within the church, not only that we do not dare to stand up and defy the Word of God, but to the point where we prefer others above ourselves.

We see this in John 3:30: "He must increase, but I must decrease."

As we become converted into little children in our own sight, we will learn to understand how the King of kings humbled Himself and became as a little child before His government began to increase. Our increase begins with growing smaller and smaller within ourselves. We must first become as a little child, and we have the example of this in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I want you to see what we read in Isaiah 9:6: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

I want you to see the chronology here. The King of kings and Lord of lords in the building of His government began by becoming a little child. When the Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, He was born as a babe in a manger, just as helpless and dependent upon the nurture of His mother as you and I were. This is where you and I must begin if there is ever going to be any spiritual increase in us.

Verse 7 says: "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."

You and I, to grow in grace, are going to grow smaller and smaller and smaller within ourselves. We must decrease, and He must increase.

As we read in Proverbs 15:33: "Before honour is humility." The Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself, and we are going to be conformed to the precious image of Christ.

Letís read in Philippians 2:5-6: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God."

He was God. It was no robbery. He was coequal with the Father.

Continuing in verses 7 and 8 we read: "But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

It began in humility. It is so important we understand the significance of this. The Lord Jesus Christ used His blood to appease the wrath of the Father, and ransomed us from the grave, but it was His obedience whereby the Father was so glorified. What was it about His obedience that glorified the Father?

I want to explain to you something. You can have a child, and that child can obey you to the letter out of slavish fear, and the Lord would have no pleasure in that at all. The Father was so glorified in the attitude in which the Son obeyed.

This is what the Lord is looking at in you and me. Are we going to humble ourselves in the attitude in which we walk in the law of the gospel? Will we walk in the Spirit of Christ, that we obey because we delight to do His will?

The Lord Jesus Christ not only obeyed. He was not obeying because the wrath of hell stood upon Him if He disobeyed, but He delighted to do the will of the Father. He humbled Himself, and that is the way to glory. The increase of His government began after His humiliation, after He humbled Himself to the death of the cross.

As we see from the Apostle Paul, it is through our decrease in self that we grow in grace. Watch this in Philippians 3:8-9: "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."

We learn to understand that everything of self is going to be crucified, everything is going to become as nothing more than dung that we might win Christ. That is the increase we are looking for. The object of our faith is the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.

That righteousness that was obtained by faith was obtained by the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This was the experience of David as we see in Psalm 131:1: "LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me."

I want you to see the language of a father in grace. I want you to see the language of one who has grown to maturity in grace.

Continuing in verses 2 and 3 we read: "Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever."

This denotes that hungering, that longing, that unsatisfiable desire after the true, sincere milk of the Word of God, and that is maturity. We are to become as little children, as babes in Christ who hunger after the sincere milk of the Word.

When the Lord spoke to David about establishing his throne as an everlasting throne, a symbol and type of the throne of Christ, the Lord said He would be as a Father unto Davidís seed.

I think this is really precious. I want you to see the foundation upon which this throne is built. We are talking about the everlasting throne. I want you to see this in 2 Samuel 7:14-15: "I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee."

See the difference between the kingdom of David and the kingdom of Saul. The kingdom of Saul was a kingdom of rebellion. It was a kingdom of iniquity, and the Lord took it away, but the everlasting kingdom, the kingdom of David, was built on righteousness. The Lord said He would treat Davidís children as sons. If they commit iniquity, He would chasten them. He would not allow David to destroy himself the way Saul did.

The Lord did this because He was going to build a foundation of righteousness for that everlasting kingdom.

It is faith in such a tender Fatherly love that gives rise to the prayer of our text: "Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved."

Here we see a church that has fallen into iniquity, and we are pleading that the Father would deal with us as sons. Please do not deal with us as you dealt with Saul and cast us away.

As our eyes are enlightened to see that our Heavenly Father is dealing with us as sons, there is healing in those blessed wings of the Sun of righteousness. In those chastisements, in those dealings of the Lord, we see there is healing. As He keeps us under the shadow of His wings, and as He preserves us, we see a healing in this as we see in Hebrews 12:11: "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

This means that the rebellion has been broken. The fruit is conformity of life to the divine law, being conformed to His will. That is the meaning of the word righteousness in this instance. We have been purged from all iniquity.

After our loving Father has turned us from our wayward attitude, we see the blessed healing effect in Hebrews 12:12-15: "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled."

After the Lord has chastened us, after the Lord has purged out all that rebellion, we see the peaceable fruits of righteousness. See the blessed effect of the chastening of the Lord. This is what we are really asking for. We are asking for Him to deal with us as dear children, not to cast us away as He did with Saul.

We must examine ourselves. We must exhort each other. We must come together for exhortation, for reproof and rebuke. We must be able to receive exhortation and rebuke.

As we grow in grace we learn to see more and more of the root of sin in our fallen nature from which we must be redeemed. We learn to see that the root of the matter is in our hearts, and that that must be rooted out and dealt with.

In Titus 2:13-14 we read: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."

Salvation is being redeemed from all iniquity, to be redeemed from our rebellion, to be redeemed from our unrepentant attitude. The work of redemption is to redeem us from iniquity. The desire of our hearts should be to do that which is pleasing to the Lord.

The more Christís blood shines into our soul the more we see how displeased our heavenly Father is with the least sin. The more we learn to see the blood of Christ that was used to pay the way and appease the wrath of the Father upon our sins, the more we learn to understand how grievous sin is to the Lord.

We read in Romans 1:18: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness."

Wherein is that revealed? We see the answer in verses 16 and 17: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."

The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ reveals to us Godís wrath upon sin.

When we plead for the Lord to return, we are asking Him to turn us again, to turn us from our sins.

When the Lord was pleased to show me the King in His beauty, it was in the Garden of Gethsemane, and upon the cross.

That is where the Father was so glorified that He established that throne of David forever. The increase of His government, the increase of His authority, began in His humility, when He had humbled Himself unto death, even unto the death of the cross.

We read in Philippians 2:9: "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name."

That was where the increase of the government was upon Him, and that it would have no end. There is no end to the increase of that government, of that throne that was established.

We read in verses 10 and 11: "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

This is because He humbled Himself unto death and obeyed. That obedience was such a humble act, delighting to do the will of the Father.

Although the experience of Godís dear children varies greatly, they will all have one thing in common: if God shines into your soul, it will be in the face of the Lord Jesus Christ. You can never claim that you have had anything from the Lord if it does not come in the face of Jesus Christ, if it is not centered in that blessed atonement.

We read in 2 Corinthians 4:6: "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

There is no shining of the face of God outside of shining in the face of Jesus Christ.

What a blessing it would be if God would grant the prayer of our text to become the prayer of this nation, and of the whole world: "Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved."

Then there would be a turning from serving self to serving the living God as we see in Ephesians 2:10: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

See Also:


Suffering | General Sermons | Lectionary Sermons | Spiritual/Moral Articles | Malankara World Journal | Malankara World Library

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