“Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” vs. 7
The psalmist didn’t understand why Israel had fallen on hard times. From his perspective the Lord had gone to a lot of work to insure its prosperity. Using the metaphor of a vine he describes how God brought the root out of Egypt and planted it deep in good ground so that it would grow and fill the land. But then God had abandoned it and left it defenseless against pillaging predators. And the psalmist doesn’t know why–he only craves restoration, a return to the good old days when Israel enjoyed God’s favor. Some of us know that feeling! Many have experienced it in their churches. It’s wonderful when times are good and growth is obvious–people come, programs flourish, and worship fills our hearts with joy. But then things change. Other congregations pluck most gifted members, and everyone else gets old. Staffs shrink and no matter what is tried, the past remains a dream. It’s easy to wonder how God has let this happen–we debate reasons for the decline. Surely it’s nothing that we have done! And it isn’t just the church that’s affected–families change too, and we miss the past–and so we pray with the psalmist, “Let your face shine, restore us!” It’s a common plea–and then one day we realize that God has not gone away. Times have changed, but a new day is coming, and God will never stop smiling on us.
Thought for the Day: What were the good old days like?