Take time to rest in the comfort of the Lord today.
Psalm 80:7-15 (NRSV)
Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
You brought a vine out of Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it;
it took deep root and filled the land.
The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches;
it sent out its branches to the sea,
and its shoots to the River.
Why then have you broken down its walls,
so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
The boar from the forest ravages it,
and all that move in the field feed on it.
Turn again, O God of hosts;
look down from heaven, and see;
have regard for this vine,
the stock that your right hand planted.
In the early 1990s my husband took horticulture classes and created a “cold frame” in our back yard. The English ivy he rooted in there survived the blizzard of ’93, which we attributed to his brilliant construction. Years later, now that the leafy vine has taken over not only our yard, but the neighbors’ yards on both sides, we know it has more to do with the overall hardiness of the species.
The vine in this psalm was transplanted from a place of harm to a prepared ground where God the gardener provided all it needed to flourish. The hardiness of God’s people was being tested and trampled by warring factions, and was being weakened by those who had become disconnected and were easy for the picking, yet it prevailed. Despite centuries of conflicts, scandals, and atrocities that threaten the vine of God’s people and attempt to break it down, it remains a well-rooted, living, growing presence. God, the Creator and Caretaker, does indeed “have regard for this vine.”
Nurturing God, thank you for ancient songs of entreaty and praise. Help us to feel comforted that you will shine your face upon us so we may continue to grow as your servants. Amen.
Go with God.