Welcome to St Clement’s,
Repetition is a tool to get your message across. Whether it’s repeated words or phrases in a book, perhaps particularly children’s books, repeated images in an advertising campaign, or even repetition in sermons, repetition is a tool to get your message across. (Do you see what I did there?)
Repetition is often used in the Bible. One helpful thing you can do when reading the Bible is to listen out for repeated words, phrases and ideas. These will often help us understand a big idea the writer is trying to get across. In Psalm 80, our Psalm of lament that we’re learning from today, repetition is used to get a point across.
Psalm 80:3 says:
“Restore us, O God; let your face shine,
that we may be saved.” (Psalm 80:3 NRSV)
This whole phrase is repeated, with slight variation in how God is addressed, in verse 5 and verse 19 the final verse. This is the chorus that Asaph wants us to go home singing today. Of course it had an original context, most likely the destruction and exile of the Northern tribes Israel, but the Psalms are songs that are meant to be sung in other contexts too. I’m sure this song would have been sung down through the ages of God’s people, and by Jesus himself in the temple, as God’s people longed for his promise of restoration and salvation to come to pass.
And in God’s wonderful plan it came true in Jesus himself. For it is in Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, ascension and return, that God restores us, shines his face upon us and saves us. And so this song, this Psalm, can be sung by us today as we now wait for Jesus to return, when he will restore all things, when we will see his face, and be saved forever. We will lament at times in life now, but there will be no lamenting in the new heavens and new earth. This is good news!