Restore us, O God! The more things change, the more the refrain stays the same. The psalmist yearns for a return to past glories. The psalmist remembers (perhaps accurately, perhaps not) a time when God overlooked, pardoned, and forgave the iniquities of the people.
The words of this psalm could certainly be sung in today’s world. Many of us yearn for a return to our own glory days or wish desperately for a return to greatness in our nation, our churches, our economy, or our individual lives. We pray earnestly to God for restoration, for revival, for a return to our former glory when God seemingly overlooked, pardoned, and forgave our iniquities. We know that our mind often plays tricks on our memory. We, along with the psalmist, may hold more fantasy than reality in our memories of past glory.
God doesn’t dwell in the past. God is here. Now. Are we aware of God’s presence? Will it really take a revival of the past for us to rejoice in God? Will it really take a restoration to past glory, individually or corporately, for us to rejoice in God? Surely not!
God is here, now. That thought alone is worthy of rejoicing. When we busy ourselves wishing for the “good ol’ days,” we miss the glory of right now. When we try to manipulate God’s working, we miss the miracles happening around us. We can rejoice in God’s ever-present glory regardless of whatever else might be happening.
God, forgive me when I try to manipulate you. Forgive me when I forsake your present glory for memories of the past. Help me, O God, to rejoice in you. 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.
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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