The haunting line woven through the first half of this psalm sets the tone for the second half. Verse 5 asks, “Will you be angry with us forever?” Can you feel the depth of despair in this line? The question lingers in the mind of the psalmist and the pain translates across the pages of time. Many of us have wondered this same question when in the midst of pain and suffering.
Yet even as this refrain lingers, the psalmist turns to hope: “[God] will speak peace . . . surely his salvation is at hand.” We begin to hear a song of hope rising up from the refrain of fear and despair. We set aside our fears of the future and begin to hope for a brighter present. We dare to sing this hope.
In the midst of pain, fear, and despair, the psalmist dares to sing of peace, restoration, love, and goodness. What about us? Are we so mired in the pits of despair and pain that we can neither hope nor hear a note of hope? A song of hope dares to emerge. Do we sing along? Can we hope for a new transformation?
God is here! God’s presence does not relieve us from fear and pain, but God’s presence does relieve us from having to face these alone. God is with us; God has always been with us. God restores us. Righteousness breaks forth before us. Let us hope boldly! And let us sing!
God, forgive me when I let fear and despair drown out my song of hope. My hope is in you from everlasting to everlasting. Help me to sing. Amen.
Hosea can be a difficult book. This prophet is called to live with an unfaithful wife as an image of how Israel is unfaithful to God. Yet even in this initial statement of judgment, God includes a promise of restoration. Psalm 85 appeals to God’s steadfast love. God has become angry with the people for their unfaithfulness, and the people appeal for God’s mercy, which they are confident they will receive. The Colossians reading warns against replacing or even supplementing the simple truth of the gospel with human wisdom, religious rules, or anything else. We have fellowship with Christ through our faith. Jesus teaches us to ask God for what we need and for what we want just as we would ask a human parent.
Read Hosea 1:2-10. How is God reminding you of your covenant relationship?
Read Psalm 85. When have you needed to pray for restoration in your life? in your relationships with family and friends? in your relationship with God?
Read Colossians 2:6-19. Paul teaches us the value of community. How has your community restored you as you seek to be like Christ?
Read Luke 11:1-13. How has praying regularly changed you? If you do not pray regularly, start a practice now. Look for the ways it changes you.
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