Psalm 85 was set in turbulent days in the land of Israel. It may have been written after the Jewish remnant had returned to the land from exile in Babylon. The Psalmist describes their restored joy and hope through experiencing God’s mercy and forgiveness. Perhaps he is also acknowledging their experience of hardship in returning to a land and an economy ravaged by neglect during those long years of exile. As he celebrates God’s mercy, he also feels the pain of the nation’s brokenness and cries out for revival, and longs to personally hear the word of the Lord that will speak peace to his own heart and the nation he loves.
We have also been living in turbulent days with whole nations thrown into turmoil at the spread and impact of the Corona Virus. Voices have come to us every day through the world’s media with updates, statistics and predictions that may have even threatened to undermine the hope and assurance of God’s people. Like many I have been blessed and built up during this time through accessing godly voices online in the form of Christian teaching and streamed services.
As I’ve listened, though, I’ve been reminded afresh that even respected teachers and leaders can hold varying and even conflicting views of what’s happening in the world around us. Like the Jews of Berea who examined the scriptures to see if the preaching of Paul in Acts 17 was true, I need to discern the voice of God for myself even in what well-known Christian speakers are saying. Like the writer of Psalm 85, I too need to hear what God the Lord wants to speak into my own heart.
It would be easy for someone to say to themself, “I’m just an ordinary Christian, who am I to check what I am hearing from well-known mature Christians or to think that God might want to speak to me about world events?” Hebrews 8:10-11 reminds us of a covenant promise from the Old Testament, spoken through the prophet Jeremiah to the house of Israel, a promise that is also for all those who have come to New Covenant faith in Jesus:
‘I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, “Know the Lord”, for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord.’
The verse above doesn’t mean that we no longer need pastors and teachers in the church, but it does mean that our Heavenly Father wants to speak to and teach each of His children personally. Even if you tend to see yourself as one of the ‘least’, be encouraged, you are included in the promise above.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I know that I’m Your child. As I read Your Word, the Bible, please help me to hear what You are saying to me and even to others in these days. In Your name, I pray. Amen.
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