Skip to main content

Advent Devotional #3

Today's devotion from Goshen College:

NOV. 26 - HOW LAMENTATIONS END


By Lisa Guedea Carreño, library director

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

----------

DEVOTIONAL:
In the midst of an economic crisis that has hit my community, church, friends and family, reading Psalm 80 stirs up real-time, real-life insecurity. In these verses I hear abandonment, bewilderment, even anger, and I can identify with the sense of desperation. How long is this going to last? Why is this happening? Won't someone please come and save us from this mess?

I realize these questions are unreasonable and unrealistic. Moreover, my gut tells me that I am less deserving of rescue than so many others who have far fewer resources than I do. And this "reality check" leads me to a familiar line of questioning: Is God absent or have I been absent-minded? Has God's face been turned away from me, or has my vision been clouded by other things? Has God made my neighbors scorn me, or have my own actions engendered such scorn? Rhetorical questions all, but no less important for the asking.

Also striking about Psalm 80 is how it switches back and forth between reverence and blame, pleas and demands, exultations and accusations. The Lord is a Shepherd who leads the flock; the Lord has given us tears to eat and drink. God is enthroned among the cherubim; God has brought ridicule upon us.

This communal lament is associated with the downfall and/or exile of the people of Israel, whose circumstances were direr than mine have ever been. In this context another line of questioning comes to mind: If they didn’t trust that they would be delivered, would they have bothered to cry out to a deliverer? If the situation was as hopeless as it seemed, why didn’t they just give up?

Lamentations don’t end happily, but they can end hopefully. "Restore us…let your face shine, that we may be saved."

----------

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 (NRSV)
To the leader: on Lilies, a Covenant. Of Asaph. A Psalm.

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
and come to save us!

Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?

You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.

You make us the scorn of our neighbours; our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
the one whom you made strong for yourself.

Then we will never turn back from you;
give us life, and we will call on your name.

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.




View all of this season's devotions at http://www.goshen.edu/devotions

Goshen College

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Independence Day 2017

I don’t know if Thomas Paine will be aggrieved that I paste his thoughts from Common Sense here, from the electronic edition. It’s a Public Domain work at this point, so hopefully none will be bothered that I am not paying for it...I think there is value in seeing the underlying reasons of Independence. I find a couple of things noteworthy in his introduction:First, he speaks of those who disagree and, while calling those out, holds the strength of his affirmative argument will be enough to straighten them out. We could do well to think more like that.Second, his final sentence should be a required view: the influence of reason and principle. Not self-interest masquerading as principle. Not party propaganda disguised as reason.That being said, not everything Paine said is right. If he and I lived at the same time, we’d argue religion over a great deal. However, the idea of “natural rights of man” follows from the idea of humanity as a special creation—that all are created equal and en…