Friday, December 5, 2014

Advent People: Wait, Remember, Hope

The people of God are Advent People in every time and place. We are those who wait for Christ to come in his fullness and restore all things.  Waiting is tiresome.  It is excruciating at times and we can become disheartened and weary.  This perpetual state of waiting is often accompanied by pain, confusion, fear, loss, disappointment, and even anger, and the Psalmists, who experienced the same, give us a voice for those emotions: 

Psalm 77
Will the Lord absent himself for ever? and will he be no more intreated? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? and is his promise come utterly to an end for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? and will he shut up his loving-kindness in displeasure? 

Psalm 69

Save me, O God; for the waters are come in, even unto my soul.  I stick fast in the deep mire, where no ground is; I am come into deep waters, so that the floods run over me. I am weary of crying; my throat is dry. My sight faileth me for waiting so long upon my God!

We sometimes feel forsaken by God.  "Where are you?  Why have you forgotten me?  How long?"  These are the desperate cries of the soul.  We wait and wait and wait. But even though that waiting for our Lord to COME and to ACT is fraught with danger, we do not wait in complete silence and we are not left without aid.  One of the great gifts we've been given while we wait is a record of the Lord's past faithfulness.

All throughout Scripture we are told to REMEMBER the deeds of the Lord.  The Psalmists, while they cry out to him, and question him, and seek his deliverance, almost always end their prayers with a confession of confidence based on remembering the ways he has delivered his people in the past.  

Psalm 77

I will remember the works of the Lord, and call to mind thy wonders of old time. I will think also of all thy works, and my talking shall be of thy doings. Thy way, O God, is holy; who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders, and hast declared thy power among the people. Thou hast mightily delivered thy people, even the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Thy way is in the sea, and thy paths in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. Thou leddest thy people like sheep, by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Psalm 143
Yet do I remember the time past; I muse upon all thy works. Yea, I exercise myself in the works of thy hands.

Psalm 68
O God, when thou wentest forth before the people, when thou wentest through the wilderness, the earth shook, and the heavens dropped at the presence of God, even as Sinai also was moved at the presence of God, who is the God of Israel.  Thou, O God, sentest a gracious rain upon thine inheritance and refreshedst it when it was weary.  

Psalms 105-107 provide a long recitation of the works of the Lord and highlight his faithfulness in keeping his promises and  in preserving his people. 

In remembering we find hope.  We begin to trust the Lord again and we find the strength and courage to wait without despairing.  Remembering puts a confession of confidence in our hearts and on our tongues.

Psalm 145
The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, yea, all such as call upon him faithfully. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him; he also will hear their cry, and will help them. The Lord preserveth all them that love him…

Psalm 96

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea make a noise, and all that therein is. Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it; then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord.  For he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth, and with righteousness to judge the world, and the people with his truth. 

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