God can reconcile those divided, whether a marriage, church, family, or friends. He knows how to make two become one (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5) and two groups one (Ephesians 2:14). Asaph’s prayer in Psalm 80 was for the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah to be restored (vv. 3, 7, 19). The children of Israel had been divided and fought amongst themselves for many years in the Promised Land. This tribal division and political rivalry among God’s people stretched back many years from Jacob (Genesis 37) and Benjamin (Judges 20, 2 Samuel 2-3). David reunited the tribes for a short period (2 Samuel 5), but soon the division began again with Absalom (2 Samuel 12) and Jeroboam and Rehoboam (1 Kings 11-12). 1 Kings 12:16 says, “Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.” It’s sad to see division among God’s people, especially over issues such as political and tribal differences.
Asaph prayed for “the vine” (vv. 8-16), a common name for Israel through Scripture (Isaiah 5:1–7, Jeremiah 2:21, Ezekiel 15:1–2, Hosea 10:1). Like a vine, as Israel obeyed the Lord, He prospered them by transplanting them from Egypt to the Promised Land of their inheritance in Canaan and spreading them across the land (vv. 8-11). When they disobeyed, it brought division with God and among His people. Sin always divides. It separates the closest of families and friends. It can destroy growing and thriving churches. Sin such as jealousy, pride, anger, and bitterness have divided Israel and all of God’s people time and time again. I’ve seen churches that were at one time reaching many souls for God divide and split over the dumbest of surface reasons that were rooted deep in the sins mentioned above. I’ve seen marriages split because pride kept husbands and wives from repenting, forgiving, and applying the reconciling peace from the Lord. It’s sad when God’s people will not use the tools of redemption from the resurrected blood of Jesus, the Spirit of God, the Word of God, forgiveness, and repentance. When we do not apply the blood, Word, and walk in the Spirit through reconciliation, we falsely testify that Jesus’ resurrection has no power. What a mockery of the cross of Calvary!
One day God will restore the vine and olive tree as they are rooted in Him (Romans 11). Asaph knew the division between themselves and God because of Israel’s sin. The vine was broken, ravaged, and stunted (vv. 12-16). It was only through the convicting hand of the Lord (v. 17) that they could repent from their sins and turn back to Him and one another (v. 18). You’ll never be united as long as you continue in your sin! Only when we repent and return to the Lord will we find restoration within our family, marriages, friends, and churches. As Asaph prayed, we too must pray, “Restore us, Lord God Almighty. Make your face shine on us, that we may receive salvation” (v. 19).
- Are you continuing to be divided because of sin or united because of repentance?
- Have you returned to the Lord and turned away from bitterness, jealousy, pride, and anger?
- Have you made a mockery of the resurrection power of Jesus’ triumph over death and the cross by remaining in your sin?
Lord, thank You for the victory that comes through the cross of Jesus. You make two become one. You restore the divided. You revive the broken. May we repent of our sins that divide and allow Your restorative hand make our families, marriages, friends, and churches united in Christ. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.