Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
The Psalms are soul music: the voice of personal prayer and praise, of anguish and hope, put together over a period of about six hundred years so that God’s people might always remember God’s mighty acts in rescuing them from their defeat and desecration and helping them to rebuild.
What is some of your soul music – passages of Scripture to which you regularly turn for comfort or guidance, songs that you find yourself singing out loud in the shower or softly to yourself on a particularly difficult day?
Take a moment to listen to or sing one of those soul songs and reflect on why it may have special meaning to you.
Psalm 85 is a song of the Sons of Korah – a family of temple officials whose music was often used in daily worship. This song is an expression of the people’s longing to live in peace, in a land of plenty where …
Love and Truth meet in the street,
Right Living and Whole Living embrace and kiss!
Truth sprouts green from the ground,
Right Living pours down from the skies!
Oh yes! God gives Goodness and Beauty;
our land responds with Bounty and Blessing
(verses 10-12, The Message).
But this beautiful image of what life might look like is rooted in the painful remembrance that not too long ago God had to restore their fortunes, set aside God’s anger, and put their sins far out of sight (see verses 1-3).
The season of Advent reminds us that constructive imagination of God is often entered into in the midst of the rubble and ruin of our own plans and ambitions, our illusion of control, our narrow imagining of the life that we might build in the limited days we have ahead of us.
Jeremiah, a young boy at the time of his call to be prophet to the nations, objects on the basis of his youth and his inability to speak into places of power the words of
defeat that will precede
a new covenant,
and a new King
but God declares that he has known him and chosen him from before he was born for this precise purpose (Jeremiah 1:5, 10).
The first Christians were Jews who fled from their homes, from the lives they had known, following the stoning of Stephen and the relentless persecution of all who had believed that Christ was the Messiah, the Son of God.
At first they had been too bound by their geography, the demographics of their community, the religion in which they had been raised to share the gospel news with anyone other than another Jew; but as they found themselves unwelcome and unsafe in Israel, uprooted and displaced to the Greek cities of Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, they began to speak of Jesus to those who had not even heard of him and “a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:21b).
Do you have a sense of God’s purpose or plan for your life?
Is there room for that purpose/plan to unfold and grow in the way that you are currently living?
What are your objections (if any) to God’s vision of your life?
Creative, constructive God,
who spoke light into darkness
and order into chaos;
clear the ruins of the past,
put my failures and my reservations
far out of sight,
and smile upon this good earth:
the fertile ground of my life
into which you long to plant
your truth, your love, your blessing.