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The good old days

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Our Scripture reading for this Sunday is Psalm 85.

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I've been thinking, especially lately, about the good old days.

And it's not because I was just on vacation -- talking with friends about the past, about adventures we had, about some experiences where we were blessed to still be alive and having made it through adolescence. A lot of that just happens when you go home for almost two weeks and you spend some time catching up.

But, again, that's not why I've been thinking about the good old days.

I've been thinking about the good old days because it seems every time I turn on the news I hear something else about violence and racism and shootings and it's shocking (and I didn't think I could be shocked anymore). I pick up my phone in the morning and there are notifications from news agencies about other shootings, about terrorist attacks, about famines and droughts, and I long for a better time. When things were simpler, when people got along, and when violence wasn't the first response.

It's easy to look back and say things were better back then (whenever then is). It's easy to say, "Then we experienced God's favour," or, "Then God had blessed us."

That's what the Psalmist is doing in the first 7 verses. He's remembering a time where God's blessing and God's salvation were so real, so present, that they couldn't be missed. He's looking back with longing because things are different now. They've turned for the worse. And so the psalmist prays for God's blessing to return, for God to restore them and grant them salvation so they may praise Him.

He's longing for the good old days.

But the psalm doesn't end there (and praise God for that!). If it did, we'd be left with this longing for the past as things got worse, putting our hope in past events, past times, with an uncertainty that they can ever come about again (or that God will do that). The psalm continues, in verse 8, with a new voice. This voice speaks of God's character, God's attributes, God's ability to bring about His salvation. This voice speaks of God with confidence, even if His presence and His peace aren't felt as they once were. 

These verses remind us that our hope isn't just in the past, but continues today and to a certain future. They assure us that God is at work. And today, that is a word of hope that we need to hear as we stand with those who are hurting, as we stand against injustice, as we long for better days.

God is at work. We can be confident in Him. "The Lord will indeed give what is good and our land will yield its harvest." (verse 12)

Those are words of confidence and hope that we need to hear, especially today.

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  • Guest
    Pete K. Thursday, 21 July 2016

    I agree. The news each day has become more and more extreme. to me its a sign that the world needs something or someone more than ever. And yes, i also find myself looking back to the simpler times more and more.

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