Asaph's prayer uses the language the LORD gave Aaron and his son's to bless the nation of Israel in Numbers 6:22-27. "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."
Asaph is reminding God of His promised blessing during a period where it seems He is angry and has forgotten Israel. The prayer focuses on what God has done. Notice all the references to God by Name and with the use of pronouns; "Shepherd of Israel", "You who are enthroned", "O LORD God of hosts", "You fed them...tears and given them tears to drink", "You make us an object of contention", "You brought a vine out of Egypt", You cleared the ground for it", "Why then have You broken down its walls" "O God of hosts", "the stock that Your right hand planted", and "Son whom You made strong".
The metaphor of Israel as a vine is found throughout Scripture, just as it is here in Psalm 80:8-16. In Jeremiah 2:21 God says, "Yet I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine?" A heading for Isaiah 5:1-7 is "A Song about the LORD's Vineyard." Using the analogy of the vineyard, Isaiah portrays all God did for Israel with the expectation of sweet grapes, but instead, the vineyard produced bitter grapes. If you read this passage in Isaiah, you will find much of the prayer of Asaph used by Isaiah.
Asaph attributes the hardship Israel is having to God's face no longer shining on the nation. He even says, "You made us an object of contention" and "You have broken down its walls" of protection. Asaph is asking God to remember Israel in verse 18 "Then we shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name!"
The imagery of the vine carries over into the NT. In John 15, Jesus describes Himself as the true vine. He is the true Israel who fulfills all the objectives and purposes of the Lord God of hosts. Jesus goes on to say the only way we achieve God's purpose is by staying attached to Him. He explains there are fruitful branches that are pruned to bear more fruit and there are unfruitful branches that wither and are eventually thrown into the fire.
Lord Jesus, You are the true Vine and the true Israel. I know that apart from You I can do nothing. Thank You for the example of the nation of Israel and all You did for her and continue to do. You are a faithful, patient, long-suffering God. Yet, Israel produced bitter fruit. I want to produce fruit that brings glory to You and my Father and Your Father, so please prune me as You will. Thank You for making Your face to shine upon me.
2 John 9
This verse is an excellent summary statement for everything we said from Psalm 80:1-19. "Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son".