Repeat, Repeat, Repeat...

"Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved... Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved... Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved." - Psalm 80:3‭, ‬7‭, ‬19 NIV In the scripture when an idea or phrase is repeated it is truly worth taking note of. In an oral culture, these repeated phrases were often used to stress a specific point. Recently, in a time of devotion, a young family member of mine named Michael Lindsey pointed out this very repetition in Psalm 80. He noticed that the psalmist repeated a particular phrase three times. However, he also noted that what was said about God continue to grow. Notice at first we read "Restore us, O God" then just a few verses later the psalmist says "Restore us, God Almighty" and finally at the very end of this particular song the psalmist says "Restore us, Lord God Almighty." Each time he says restore us, he is indicating that God is the author of restoration and not us. He also repeats the phrase "make your face shine upon us that we may be saved." Again, this makes it clear that our Salvation occurs when the face of God shines upon each of us. Within the context, Israel needed to repent and turn back to God. Meanwhile, we still have to ask the question why the progression of God's titles? Why "O God, God Almighty, and Lord God Almighty?" Consider this, these lines serve as a kind of Chorus for the song. The psalmist simply modifies the chorus based on the ideas that were sung prior to that particular course. In the beginning, the lyrics simply reveal God to be God. Ideas like "the Shepherd of Israel" or "the One who sits enthroned on high" etc. In the middle section what the song says is all about God revealing His might. I.E. "smoldering anger" and an ability to cause tge Israelites to "drink their tears." Finally, the psalmist points out the Sovereign working of God. His universal Lordship. Ideas like verse 8 which show God taking a vine from Egypt (arguably the greatest nation in the world at the time), driving out the nation's in and around Canaan (regardless of their might or strength), only to plant His vine there because that's where He wants it. This culminates in that final chorus recognizing God for who He really is: Lord over all! When reading scripture it's important to follow repetition. These things matter greatly! But, as important as repetition, following the slight modifications or progressions in those repetitions can and will help us to see everything we read with more understanding. Questions to Consider: Have you ever noticed repeating ideas in Scripture? If so what are they? Are there slight modifications to those repeated ideas, like we read today? Have you ever noticed repeating themes throughout the whole of scripture; such as God's grace, or His love, or His call for us to repent and return to Him?


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