“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth!” (v1). When Israel was broken down and threatened (v12), they prayed to the God who is both active Shepherd, close to His people, and also the invisible Presence enthroned on the ark. Experience had taught the Israelites that God was intimately near, yet also terrifyingly holy and apart from them. Three times the psalmist cried out, “Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!” (v3).
“Give us life …” (v18). When God’s love “shines forth” (v1), death is conquered, sins are forgiven, and we are saved.