Season 3 kicks off with a series on Advent called, “Hello Darkness My Old Friend.” This week Dan looks at hope and expectant waiting.
As we walk through Advent together, I’m struck ever more by the darkness. Today I read through Psalms 12, 13, and 14. They’re not exactly cheery. These are not the poems that you would read at your holiday gathering and then pass out the eggnog.
These are dark poems.
They reflect the stark reality of our world.
A world of injustice and oppression.
We live in a world where the poor are abused and battered. Those who do evil appear to be rewarded. Those who do good appear to be cast aside. It seems that in our world nice guys finish last.
It was no different back when the Psalms were written. People are people.
Yet, at the end of Psalm 14 we hear this refrain, “Oh that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores his people let Jacob and Israel be glad!”
In Isaiah 2, we catch a glimpse of what this restoration would look like when Isaiah says, “He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”
Oh for that day when peace and wholeness reigns for mankind! Oh for the day when salvation from Zion comes. This is the hope of Advent. The hope that there will be a day when we can rejoice because all has been restored.
Let salvation come
Have you noticed how we think about “them” and “us” or “them” and
“me”? It’s not something that I notice myself doing very much. I see it in a lot of other people.
That’s the point though isn’t it? Them, not me. Today, I was reading in the Psalms and I was struck by this reality.
In Psalm 5 there is a call by David for God to judge his enemies and protect him. He wants God to declare them guilty and destroy them.
In Psalm 6 David opens by saying, “Lord do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.” Not me God! I’m so sorry. I know I messed up, but don’t discipline me. Let me off and forgive me.
Them. Not me!
On the one hand this is what I love about the psalms. They are brutally honest. I read them and think, “Wow. These people were messed up.” I also read them and think, “Oh man, I am so these people.”
I have been thinking about this today, this juxtaposition of “Them. Not me.”
Why is that we demand grace for ourselves and judgment for our enemies? What is it that is in us that is like this? Have we ever thought about the reality that for some other person we might be the “them?” Could you imagine if you knew someone was beseeching the divine to destroy you and pour out wrath on you?
How might we change if we try to let go of the “them, not me” mindset?
I wonder if I might be able to love a little better. I think so, but too often it’s them, not me.
As I was meditating on my Scripture reading this morning there was a theme that kept popping up. It seemed like there was a refrain in the Scriptures that said God is not interested in our sacrifices.
He wanted something else.
It turns out that God wants our trust. He wants us to trust him for everything in our lives.
That is really hard for us. We want to “play our part”. The idea that God will settle it and all we have to do is simply trust him is unsettling, at best. We have this innate desire to appease God.
Yet, we can’t.
All we can do is trust him. That’s what he wants most anyway.
Change is something that we cannot escape from. We will face change inevitably. The question that stands before us is this: Will we be prepared for change when it comes?