“Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire;
at Your rebuke your people perish.
Let Your hand rest on the man at Your right hand,
the son of man You have raised up for Yourself.
Then we will not turn away from You; revive us,
and we will call on Your name.”
Psalms 80:16-18 NIVUK
After the frenetic and dark days of Psalm 79, Asaph, the Psalmist, seems to be calming down and looking at his predicament with a more contrite and objective heart. Three times in the Psalm he appeals to God to ”make your face shine on us”. And he ends the Psalm with the reason for his request – “that we may be saved.” But, in a prophetic glimpse in verse 17, he introduces “the son of man”. This was the phrase that Jesus used to describe Himself when He walked in the highways and byways of Palestine. A phrase used many times in the Old Testament and the Gospels. But in his prophetic glimpse, perhaps Asaph saw that the solution to the national distress of the Jewish nation was a Messianic figure who would lead the people and keep them close to God. He wasn’t to know that a few hundred years later such a person would emerge, the Son of God, but also the Son of Man. Jesus, the divine and human Messiah. Amazingly, and sadly, the Jewish people failed to recognise Him, because by then they had lost sight of the reason for the Messiah’s coming, which was, according to verse 17, to bring God’s people back into His presence. Instead their expectation was for a Leader who would free the Jewish nation from the tyranny of the Roman occupation. And then there came the dark day when they crucified the very Man who was their salvation.
But Jesus died once, not just for His people, but for all mankind. His mission was accomplished. And by believing in Him, that His death brought forgiveness for our sins, we can fulfil the prophetic insight from this Psalm, turning back to God. And then we will find that His face will truly shine on us.