We will never turn our back on you; breathe life into our lungs so we can shout your name! God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, come back! Smile your blessing smile: That will be our salvation. Psalm 80: 18-19 (MSG)
I had a few dating relationships back in the day that could be described as "on again off again." I would date a girl with all of the electric emotion of young love only to break up shortly thereafter, in bitter angst, because of some trivial disagreement. After a few days withdrawl from the intensity of that endorphin pumping infatuation, I would get back together with a tide wave of promises that included words like "forever" and "never again." I cringe to think of it.
I caught a glimpse of a young, infatuated lover in the words of Psalm 80. Asaph cries out to God in bitter angst, as if he’s been jilted. He recounts all the love and favor that God showed Israel and begs God to come back, promising undying love and devotion. Asaph, however, is a bit selective in his memory. He does not address the countless times that Israel had willfully been disobedient and chased after all kinds of foreign idols (especially the fertility gods that required sex in their worship). Asaph seems to have forgotten the continuous cycle of disobedience and unfaithfulness that marked Israel’s history through the exodus and the time of the judges. When I started reading his psalm from God’s perspective, his cries and longings started to sound a bit hollow.
Nevertheless, I can’t judge Asaph. I have to take this Jr. Holy Spirit badge off my chest. My own prayers have been a reflection of his hollow lyrics many times over. I cry out to God as though He’s abandoned me, when the reality is that it’s my own stupid decisions and mistakes which created the separation. I act like a jilted, adolescent boyfriend. I point my finger at God when I should be pointing it directly back at myself.
God, forgive me. You haven’t abandoned me. I walked away from you.