Daily Worship

Dreaming Dreams

October 27, 2021 5
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Image credit: Unsplash

Psalm 121 (NIVUK)

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains –
    where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip –
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord watches over you –
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all harm –
    he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and for evermore.

I smiled when I saw that this psalm was to be included in our readings. It’s one of my favourites. The background is almost certainly the return of the people of Israel to Jerusalem from 70 years exile in Babylon. They will find a city in ruins, not least the Temple which was the ultimate focus of their worship and devotion. But they were dreaming dreams. The Lord had done great things for them. This they knew from the history of Israel and their recent experience. It was recognised by other nations. In this strength they would begin to build again.

They were under no illusions about what would be demanded of them. They would sow in tears. But they had faith in what the Lord would accomplish through their work. The Negev desert came to mind. For most of the year nothing grew there. But the rainy season brought refreshment. The grass grew, flowers bloomed, crops flourished. This gave the nation a vision of how God could once again renew the nation.

To borrow the title of Ian Rankin’s recent novel, Psalm 121 is ‘a song for the dark times.’  It is a part of Scripture that would regularly come to mind in the darkest days of the pandemic. In so many ways we were being stripped back in our resources and our opportunities for service. Like the nation of Israel we lived in the hope of a future where we would emerge from desolating experience into a prospect of renewal.

Even now there are encouraging signs. The Church is ‘rebooting’ with lessons learned about ourselves and about our God. Bartimaeus came out of a dark and miserable existence into a future lit up by the new purpose he had found in Jesus. This always lies before those who place their trust in Him.

 

PRAYER:

 

Lord Jesus,

So often we feel we are wandering in the rubble of failure.

In these moments come to us in Your Spirit to grant us new dreams and the courage to go forward in faith. Amen.