Bible Reading: Psalm 85

Psalm 85

Lord, you were favorable to your land;
    you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people;
    you covered all their sin. Selah
You withdrew all your wrath;
    you turned from your hot anger.

Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
    and put away your indignation toward us!
Will you be angry with us forever?
    Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
Will you not revive us again,
    that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
    and grant us your salvation.

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
    for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
    but let them not turn back to folly.

Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
    that glory may dwell in our land.

Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
    righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
    and righteousness looks down from the sky.
Yes, the Lord will give what is good,
    and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him
    and make his footsteps a way.

Recently I met a man who knows me but I didn’t know him.  He introduced himself and mentioned that we used to go to church together.  I’ve been at The Ridge for 25 years but I couldn’t place him.  It’s a terrible feeling.  It turns out I wasn’t going back far enough.  He went to the church of my childhood, and I hadn’t seen or heard of him for 40 years.  When he talked about us building mission churches in South Texas over the summer it brought back memories. I can smell the fresh lumber and the sausage and eggs we had in the morning.  I was thrilled when my father let me get on the roof and nail shingles with the adults.  I learned more about the gospel as a child by seeing believers saving money and giving up their vacations to sweat in the brutal heat and build a little church building that they’d never use than I did in all those Sunday School classes.

Today’s passage reflects on God’s mercy on 3 horizons: past, present and future.  In the first section the writer recalls how God covered Israel’s sins by showing them mercy.  In the second section the passage shifts to the present: God’s people are in the midst of trials, praying for restoration through new mercies.  In the third section the focus is on the hope His people can have that God brings revival.

Memories are a gift but I find that as I get older I must reflect on them regularly, otherwise they fade away and I fail to apply what I’ve learned.  Let us remember that God saved us by marrying justice and mercy at the cross, and we can live lives of grace through our present trials by placing our hope in the mercies of our King, day by day.

Weekly Memory Verse:  How lovely are Your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts!  My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.  Psalm 84:1-2