Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
The theme of the Advent season is a call for the Christ to come. Our Psalm this week calls out to God for restoration, which is rightly the work of God in Christ. The problem presented in Psalm 80 is found in verse four, where the Psalmist asks how long God will remain angry with our prayers.
This idea may bother some of us. God? Angry with the prayers of His people? What’s that all about? Yet we need to realize that among God’s covenant people, Israel, not all are faithful to the Lord. Not all are pleasing to him. Likewise, within the body of Christ, not all Christians are engaged in a life that is pleasing to God. We often pray for somehing that goes against God’s character. We often pursue values that are contrary to the redemptive nature of Christ’s kingdom. We want to change God rather than having him change us. We think we are privileged and that God called us because we are worthy. We seek to exalt ourselves in ways that bring harm to others.
Really we should be surprised if any of our ideas that go against God’s Word actually work out well. It’s only a temporary success. The Lord will eventually show that he is fed up with our self-serving efforts. Our plans which center on ourselves and our glory finally result in tears, in mocking, in shame (v. 6).
In the end, the call to God is just the same. In verse seven, the Psalmist prays the Lord would restore his people. How will he do that? How can God redeem the mess that I’ve created by seeking my own glory? He does it by moving us to pray and to live rightly, seeking God’s will and God’s kingdom, asking Him to change us and use us to love and serve our neighbors. This is the essence of Christ’s coming. He comes to be God with us, cleansing and redeeming the world. May his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
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