Psalm 80:8
You uprooted a vine from Egypt; You drove out the nations and transplanted it.
Sermons
The Vine-Figure of God's PeopleR. Tuck Psalm 80:8
God's RedemptionC. Short Psalm 80:1-19
The Almighty in Relation to Erring ManHomilistPsalm 80:1-19
The God that Dwelleth Between the CherubimsJ. S. Broad, M. A.Psalm 80:1-19
The Mercy-SeatJ. Parsons.Psalm 80:1-19
The Relative DeityHomilistPsalm 80:1-19
The Word God Means the Shining OneCynddylan Jones.Psalm 80:1-19
The Vine of GodS. Conway Psalm 80:8-15


These verses may be taken -

I. AS A SYMBOLIC HISTORY OF ISRAEL.

1. For God's people were as a vine. Designed for fruit; carefully tended; highly esteemed; thoroughly cleansed; diligently guarded.

2. Israel had been brought out of Egypt.

3. The nations of Canaan were driven out.

4. Israel became a settled nation.

5. Strong.

6. Populous. "Filled the land;" coveting the hills and the plains.

7. Dominion increasing, from the Mediterranean in the west to the Euphrates in the east. Then, at the time when this psalm was written:

8. A great change had come. Fierce foes, as Assyria and Babylon; and wild-boast-like enemies, Edom, Amman, Moab, and others, all made havoc of Israel, uprooting and devouring. But all this led Israel, as God purposed it should, to turn again unto him in penitence, faith, prayer, and reconsecration (ver. 18). But also -

II. AS AN ALLEGORY OF THE CHRISTIAN SOUL.

1. In prosperity. For it, too, is God's vine. Redeemed from the slavery and wretchedness and sin of the Egypt-like world. The heathen, the terrible spiritual enemies, God drove out, and saved his people from their sins; planted the soul in the kingdom of grace; made it happy in God, so that it took "deep root." And that grace of God governed the whole being, "filled the land," so that, as Paul, he could say, "I live, yet not I, but," etc. The Divine life in him attained to noble proportions, in height, in breadth (ver. 10). And became victorious over many, and possessor of wide and beneficent power (ver. 11). All this tells of the soul happy and strong, and abiding and useful in God. Blessed condition.

2. In adversity. (Ver. 12.) We are told (2 Chronicles 32:31) how God left Hezekiah. That was an instance of God breaking down the "hedges." It was done "to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart." This God often does. At other times in anger, to punish, as with Israel. Yet again to teach the soul its dependence upon God. What are these hedges? Holy habits, the presence of the Holy Spirit in the soul, means of grace. Sin forfeits all these, breaks through holy habit, drives away the Spirit, sterilizes all means of grace. It is not God who breaks down the hedges, but our sin - our forgetfulness of God, our disobedience, our pride. "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed," etc. And then what is told of here is sure to follow (vers. 12, 13). Any passer by is able to pluck away her strength, to rob the soul of some of its power. The soul gives in to them, does what they say. And some foul, fierce, strong, wild-boar-like sin will get itself entrance into the soul, and, oh] the wasting that there is then! what rooting up and devouring of all good! and lesser creatures, but of like nature, rush in and do similar work. O my soul, keep near thy God, lest thy hedges be broken down!

3. In recovery. Thank God, the allegory does not close with the misery we have just contemplated; but we see recovery beginning. For there is (ver. 14) earnest crying to God; pleading of the ancient covenant (ver. 15). God himself planted the vine and loved it. Confession of utter misery (ver. 16) and helplessness and guilt; for their misery is because of God's rebuke. Pleading again God's former love, so great, so precious, how he made Israel "strong for thyself;" protesting (ver. 18) that they will no more go back from God; and interceding for that again turning to God, and that consciousness of his favour which would ensure that they would go back no more. These are the steps of the upward ascent, even out of the depths. - S.C.









O Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of Thy people?
The Lord God of hosts is not properly a title of creation, but of providence. All creatures have their existence from God as their Maker; but so have they also their order from Him as their Governor. So that here, God would be respected, not as a creator, but as a general. His anger, therefore, seems so much the more fearful, as it is presented to us under so great a title, "The Lord God of hosts is angry." They talk of Tamerlane, that he could daunt his enemies with the very look of his countenance. Oh! then what terror dwells in the countenance of the offended God!

I. GOD MAY BE ANGRY; and sin the cause of His anger. He hath scourged some in very mercy, till they have smarted under His rod (Job 6:4; Psalm 88:15, 16). If He will do thus much in love, what shall be the terrors of His wrath? If the sun were wanting, it would be night for all the stare; and if God frown upon a man, for all the glittering honours of this world, he sits in the shadow of death. Thus terrible is the anger of God; now, what is He angry withal but sin? That is the perpetual make-bate between God and us; the fuel of the fire of His indignation (Isaiah 59:2; Isaiah 63:10).

II. GOD MAY BE LONG ANGRY. It is some favour when we have the respite to cry, "How long, Lord, wilt thou be angry with us?" There is some hope of remedy when we once complain of our sickness. Yet God may be long angry, and long continue sensible testimonies of His anger (Psalm 95:10). But how, then, doth the prophet say "that he retaineth not anger"? Well enough; for He never retaineth it one moment longer than we retain the cause of it. So soon as we ever cease sinning against Him, He ceaseth to be angry with us.

III. GOD MAY BE ANGRY WITH THE WHOLE PEOPLE. The universality of sin calls for the universality of repentance, or else it will provoke God's anger to strike us with universal judgments. If the whole people be guilty, the whole people must fall to deprecation. Such was the Ninevite's repentance, "every man turning from his evil ways."

IV. GOD MAY BE ANGRY WITH HIS OWN PEOPLE. Yea, their sins anger Him most of all, because, together with wickedness, there is unkindness. As dearly as He loves them, their sins may provoke Him. Our interest in God is so far from excusing our iniquities, that it aggravates them. The nearer we are to Him, the nearer do our offences torch Him; as a man more takes to heart a discourtesy done by a friend than a great injury by a stranger.

V. GOD MAY BE ANGRY WITH HIS PEOPLE THAT PRAYETH.

1. There may be infirmities enough in our very prayers to make them unacceptable.

2. But such is the mercy of our God, that He will wink at many infirmities in our devotions, and will not reject the prayer of an honest heart because of some weakness in the petitioner. It must be a greater cause than all this that makes God angry at our prayers. In general, it is sin (John 9:31; Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 1:15). God will have none of those petitions that are presented to Him with bloody hands.

3. In particular, it is the hypocrisy of sin, or the sin of hypocrisy, that makes God so angry with our prayers.

(T. Adams.)

Essex Remembrancer.
I. IN WHAT SENSE GOD MAY BE SAID TO BE ANGRY WITH OUR PRAYERS.

1. When He denies our requests.

2. When He delays His answers.

3. When He bestows blessings under a different form, and in a different manner from what we expected.

II. SOME OF THE CAUSES FOR THIS.

1. Our desires may be, and no doubt often are, improper.

2. Desires, not in themselves improper, may be unsuitable to us, such as would not, if granted, become our case or circumstances.

3. Prayers may be ill-timed.

4. They may be polluted and spoiled by sins.

5. They may be incompatible with the plans of infinite wisdom.

III. IMPROVEMENT.

1. Instead of restraining prayer, this should make us more importunate.

2. Though we should not give over praying, we ought to give over sinning.

3. Acquiesce in all the Divine proceedings.

4. Be thankful that whatever favours God may see fit to withhold or suspend, He bestows far more than we have deserved.

(Essex Remembrancer.)

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