Take the Wheel
To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim-Eduth, A Psalm of Asaph.
1Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. 2Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh Stir up thy strength, And come and save us. 3Turn us again, O God, And cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. 4O Lord God of hosts, How long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people? 5Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; And givest them tears to drink in great measure. 6Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: And our enemies laugh among themselves.
Great songs have verses and a chorus. There can be a number of stanzas with different content, but the chorus remains the same and brings us back repeatedly to the theme of the song. One example of a chorus is the country song "Jesus take the Wheel".
Jesus, take the wheel Take it from my hands 'Cause I can't do this on my own I'm letting go So give me one more chance And save me from this road I'm on Jesus, take the wheel
These words came to mind this morning as I read Psalm 80 with it’s repeating chorus.
Psalm 80:3 Turn us again, O God, And cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
Psalm 80:7 Turn us again, O God of hosts, And cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
Psalm 80:19 Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, Cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
This psalm appears to be written about the northern kingdom of Israel and close to the time that she fell to the Assyrians in 721 BC. This is evident by the reference to God as the “Shepherd of Israel” in verse 1 as well as the tribes that are mentioned in verse 2.
Psalm 80:2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh Stir up thy strength, And come and save us.
The northern kingdom had persisted in gross idolatry and sin and the Psalmist realized this was the reason for their predicament.
So, what does that have to do with a country song?
The psalmist realized that his nation was heading in a bad direction and showed no signs of correcting course. They were incapable of turning around themselves so in essence he asked God to take the wheel and turn them around. In each of those choruses he repeatedly asks for the Lord’s face to shine toward them so that they could be saved. If they could ever just get a glimpse of God, if they could ever by faith behold the love and beauty of his countenance then they would turn.
I can’t help but see the condition of our nation and relate to the psalmist. We live in what has been a country of unapparelled opportunity and freedom, but sadly we are heading down a road filled with hate and constant conflict. We are stacking up sins and building a heap of trouble for ourselves. Isn’t it time for us to seriously seek God? Please, let’s pray harder that Jesus take the wheel and turn us. If we can just show the face of God reveled in his Son, surely things will change.
I couldn’t help but notice that the chorus of Psalm 80 grew a little each time.
In verse 3, “Oh God…”
In verse 7, “Oh God of hosts…”
In verse 19, “Oh Lord God of Hosts…”
The rest of the line remained the same but with every repetition a little more about God is revealed.
Perhaps there is a lesson there, if we will keep looking for his face and get to know him better then he will certainly be loved and trusted more.
The old hymn said
Turn your eyes upon Jesus Look full in His wonderful face And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace
Sadly, the northern tribes of Israel did not repent and turn back to their God. They did not give God the wheel so they could be turned. They did not look for God’s face so it could change them. Will we?
Will we give the Lord the wheel?
Will we get God to turn us around?
Will we look for his face and be changed in the light of his glory and grace?
Oh Jesus, Cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.