Here is what amazes me about Psalm 80:1-6 (the passage we looked at yesterday): Israel has run from God and to their ruin and they ask God to be Himself in their lives and restore them. And God is moved by their prayers. Like our opening consideration yesterday, I’m in awe of the tremendous way God responds to the prayers of His people, even as He rules sovereignly in this world.

Today, we’re going to keep working our way verse-by-verse through this passage (the academic name for this is “exegetical Bible study”). But we’ll want to keep our finger on this theme: tracing the line of God’s response to the prayers of His people.

Read Psalm 80:7. With yesterday’s study in mind, what is the Psalmist asking of God? To what does he or she want to be restored?

Read Psalm 80:8-13. What is the Psalmist illustrating in these verses? 

Consider the historical context mentioned yesterday. What part of Israel’s history do you think this metaphor is relating to?

The Psalmist, while in a foreign land and in desperate need for God’s salvation, is recalling the “golden years” of Israel’s history. Recalling the days in which they lived under God’s sovereign rule and in His presence, in which they flourished, the Psalmist is preparing to make a case before God.

Let’s break this metaphor down phrase-by-phrase. Make note of any historic context you know of for each reference in the metaphor:

You brought a vine out of Egypt;

    you drove out the nations and planted it:

You cleared the ground for it;

    it took deep root and filled the land.

The mountains were covered with its shade,

    the mighty cedars with its branches:

It sent out its branches to the sea

    and its shoots to the River:

Why then have you broken down its walls,

    so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?

The boar from the forest ravages it,

    and all that move in the field feed on it:

The Psalmist is remembering the days in which God brought them out of Egypt. At the time, they were just like a little vine, a sampling needing nourishment and care. And God made a way for them to live in the promised land. He drove out the Philistines and the Amorites before them, making a way for them to be planted and take root. When He did, they flourished under His watchful care, and they grew as He led them as their Ruler. They expanded; they took over the land. They grew in number, fulfilling the promise God made to Abraham about making a mighty nation out of a childless, elderly couple. They are near the water, connected to the source of sustenance, which could very likely be a reference to the temple of God as they worshiped Him in a permanent place. 

With this in mind, what is the Psalmist referencing here?

Why then have you broken down its walls,

    so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?

The boar from the forest ravages it,

    and all that move in the field feed on it:

Who does the Psalmist seem to think is “at fault” for their current tragedy? 

The Psalmist knows that God withdrew His hand of protection, taking down the walls that surrounded the city. God has allowed the nation to be ravaged, and you and I might, along the with the Psalmist, ask why. Why has God allowed this to happen? Because Israel has rejected God as her King. They have chosen to find their protection and provision in a line of fallen men. Rejecting God, their Protector, they have chosen lesser provisions, and they have been disappointed. 

Have you experienced God removing protection or provision in your life when you have deliberately withdrawn from Him? Take a moment and pray about any instances that come to mind.

Israel is desperate for God to restore the vine that He panted, to bring them back up out of the land they are living in, and restore them to right relationship with Him. Sound familiar? You and I are desperate for the same – in need of our God to heal all the broken areas we can name, and particularly the ones we cannot. 

Read John 15:1-9. 

Praise God that in Christ the True Vine has arrived! He is the One in whom we abide, and He is the One who keeps us abiding. When we fear that we are far from home, as Christians we can rest assured: we are in Christ, and Christ will keep us abiding in HIm. 


Supplication: Confess to God any areas in your heart in which you need Him to come and save you from choices you have made, idols you have created, or lesser loves you have pursued. Ask Him to save you.

Submission: Confess to God that He alone is God. Praise God for what He has done in Christ: giving us the True Vine, grafting us into His family, and keeping us abiding in Him.

Author: amygannett

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