Restoration- Psalm 43

The rule of waiting time is stated as follows.

If you have time to wait, the wait time will be relatively short.

However, if you are pressed for time and have other demands on your schedule, then the wait time expands exponentially.

If you are hungry or thirsty, the wait time intensity increases.

If you, as the waiter, notice others come and go, time spent waiting seems even more unreasonable.

If you complain about the wait time, feeling sure that will help, it does not.

In our fast-paced, instant-solution culture, we don’t know much about waiting, pausing, or spiritual restoration.

Overall, Psalm 43 calls for restoration.

1 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me!
(Psalm 43:1 ESV)

The psalmist begs God to defend him and then go a step further and vindicate him. He wants his reputation restored, and his name cleared.

Refuge and Rejection

2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

(Psalm 43:2 ESV)

Every human craves love and acceptance. I feel weighed down and oppressed when rejection overwhelms me.  

How do I counter feelings of rejection?

Truth and Light

3 Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!
(Psalm 43:3 ESV)

The world’s version of truth and light is available 24/7. It is easy to reach for a kind of truth and light offered by the hand-held electronic devices we all hold in our hands or pockets most of the time. In times when I am tired or overwhelmed, it is all too easy to settle for a counterfeit truth and light.

However, God’s truth and light provide powerful guidance, clarification, and authentic restoration. Ultimately, the psalmist points out, this truth and light will direct believers to God’s holy hill and dwelling place.


4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
(Psalm 43:4 ESV)

In verse 4, joy finally breaks through, and heart restoration takes hold. When believers go to the altar at the church and encounter God, praise pours forth. Believers are designed for in-person corporate worship and must attend church to experience that.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
(Psalm 43:5 ESV) 

At first, Verse 5 appears to be out of order here. Praising and worshipping one moment and the next, cast down and back in turmoil. However, this so accurately reflects the human condition. Our daily lives take a toll. Friends and family disappoint us, accusations come our way, and we fail far too often. At any moment, something can throw me back into turmoil. So how will I respond? How do I access restoration?

In the second half of verse 5, believers are challenged to activate hope in God.


How do we activate hope?

  • Praise Him, even when it is the last thing you feel like doing.
  • Ask a friend to pray for you. Cultivate a prayer partnership where you pray for one another regularly.
  • Read God’s word and ask Him to reveal Himself to you.
  • Give thanks for salvation. This is a gift each of us received, and it should never be taken for granted.  


Thank you, Lord, for the restoration you provide. When I feel rejected, you provide refuge. When I am lost, you provide truth and light to guide me. Help me to hold fast to hope and actively seek You every day. Thank you for the joy of my salvation. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Holding onto Hope in Advent – Psalm 80

It is dark at my house this morning. The electricity went out at some point during the night, leaving my entire neighborhood shrouded in blackness. I wander about the house, gathering candles, a lighter, and my trusty book light. Without light, my home becomes a frustrating obstacle course featuring various objects ready to bruise my shins and trip me up. I feel desperate for the light to be restored.

God’s people find themselves in a season of darkness and desperation at the beginning of Psalm 80.

1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.
2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might and come to save us!
3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!
(Psalm 80:1-3 ESV)

Drawn to Light

Like us, they are drawn to light and know they need a restoration that can only come when God’s face shines upon them again. They are stumbling along in the darkness of sin and disappointment.

Just like them, we all find ourselves in seasons of spiritual darkness from time to time. God knows this about His people and provides certain rhythms and reminders for us on the church calendar.  


The season of Advent provides a time of preparation during the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. As the first candle is lit on Advent wreaths around the world, God’s people are reminded of Jesus’ miraculous birth and His promised return. The light glows forth and hope, the theme of the first week of Advent, ignites again in our souls.

The psalmist goes on to acknowledge God’s anger with his disobedient people.

4 O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears and given them tears to drink in full measure.
6 You make us an object of contention for our neighbors, and our enemies laugh among themselves.
7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! 
(Psalm 80:4-7 ESV)


However, God is still a shepherd and gently and firmly guides His sheep through dark times. He alone can restore and reconcile His people.

Sadly, even though today’s believers are reconciled to the Lord through the saving blood of Jesus Christ, we often choose to walk in darkness and go our own way from time to time.

The psalmist describes His people’s repeated cycles of rebellion against the Lord.

8 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. 
9 You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 It sent out its branches to the sea and its shoots to the River.
12 Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
13 The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.
14 Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine,
15 the stock that your right hand planted, and for the son whom you made strong for yourself.
16 They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of your face!
(Psalm 80:8-16 ESV)

Hope Found and Lost

God brought the Israelites out of slavery and out of Egypt in a miraculous way. At that point, they flourished and thanked God, but all too soon they rebelled and ended up wandering in the desert in disbelief for forty years. Eventually, they settled in the promised land and flourished again, only to drift away in more cycles of sin and rebellion. Many enemies came against them and destroyed almost everything and everyone.

All hope seemed lost.

17 But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself! 
18 Then we shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call upon your name!
19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved! 
(Psalm 80:17-19 ESV)

Hope Re-ignited

In these final verses, hope is re-ignited. God gives His people eternal life through His son Jesus Christ. All will call upon God’s name, and the ultimate restoration will occur. In Advent, we remember how Jesus came as a baby, lived as a man, and died on the cross to save us. In Advent, we also keep a hopeful watch for Jesus to come back to rule and reign forever.


In the meantime, as we light the first Advent candle, we see the light of hope and pray the repeated verse from Psalm 80, “Restore us, O Lord God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!”

(Psalm 80:3,7 &19 ESV)

Flammable Foolishness – Psalm 14

Years ago, we sold a home, and a few weeks after closing got a call from our realtor. She explained that the home buyer had reported that the gas logs in the house we sold were not working correctly. There had been an incident, and she had been burned. The buyer wanted to know who had installed the gas logs and find out who was to blame.

My husband suggested we pay for the installer to go and inspect the logs and figure out what had gone wrong. A few days later, the installer called to report a rather interesting conversation with the buyer. It went something like this.

Can you tell me what happened on the day you had a problem with the gas logs?

Well, I turned the gas on in the fireplace and realized I didn’t have a lighter. I went back to the kitchen to search for one. When I got back and lit the logs, there was a flare-up. That is how I got burned.

Let me clarify this. You left the gas on and went to find a lighter?

Yes, that is what I said.

The installer then patiently explained that it was a wonder she didn’t blow the whole house up and would never do that again.

By God’s grace, her injuries were minor. While I was sad she got hurt, I was grateful not to be held responsible for someone else’s foolish decision. Today, I let my husband light the logs at our house.

The Bible is full of wisdom and stories of the foolishness of human beings. Psalm 14 contrasts God’s wisdom with foolishness. Perhaps God offers much insight to us because we so sorely need it. We live in a world where the voice of folly is loud and appears to be in charge.

How often does that voice influence me?

The psalmist begins Psalm 14, pointing to foolishness.

Follow Your Heart

1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
    there is none who does good. (Psalm 14:1 ESV)

This statement of practical atheism proclaims that God has nothing to do with our lives.

The fool speaks from his heart. Human hearts and emotions are not reliable sources of wisdom. Listening to your heart sounds so good in a country music ballad, but the practice may lead to severe mistakes. What feels so true in the moment might not be accurate in reality.

Relying on our hearts may lead to corruption.

Merriam-Webster defines corruption as “a departure from the original or from what is pure or correct.” The corrosive effect of foolishness leads to abominable deeds.  

Check out the headlines on any given day to read more about what that looks like in real life. What gets done to vulnerable people like the elderly or children all seems quite abominable. I don’t think anyone wakes up on any given day intent on extremely abusive behavior. It could be a slow drift towards foolish choices that slowly go downhill to an extreme degree.

Practical atheism or “God has nothing to do with my life” makes human beings feel adrift without a moral standard.

As a believer, I live in a sin-saturated society. Atheist fools are platformed, and their guidance is often set as the standard for all. That influence can take a toll on me as a believer.  

2 The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. (Psalm 14:2 ESV)


The LORD has a 360-degree view of seeing the entire universe. He looks down from heaven and sees the “children of man.” These people choose to live their lives apart from God and have limited perspectives.

The children of man misunderstand the wisdom of God.

God can discern, from His perspective, if a person understands or seeks Him. While sometimes I believe I know this too, I don’t. It’s easy for me to assign motives creatively, but I don’t know what is in someone’s heart or mind. Only God does because only God can handle that information.

3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good,
    not even one. (Psalm 14:3 ESV)

Contagious Corruption

Turning aside from God’s wisdom leads to contagious corruption, spreading from one person to another. They no longer have the ability to do any good.

I long to create a comfortable distance from this situation. I want to claim that I seek God so I won’t become corrupted. However, I live in a world where this is sadly so common. How many high-profile Christian leaders do we see fall into corruption? This can happen to any leader, but when one of the high-profile ones falls, it dramatically damages the body of Christ.

As a believer, I am not inoculated from foolishness. I need a steady stream of wisdom from God to counteract all I am exposed to daily.

4 Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread
    and do not call upon the LORD?


Foolish people become evildoers who eat up God’s people like bread. Exploiting other people is as natural to them as eating daily bread. They don’t suffer any guilt or concern. Evildoers do not call upon the LORD.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to love people. It is far too easy to focus on accomplishing a worthy goal that people feel used to or exploited. I must seek God’s wisdom to avoid these practices and rely on Him to achieve goals.

However, God will not allow exploitation to remain unchecked. This is the part of the psalm that turns in a promising direction.

5 There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous. (Psalm 14:5 ESV)

God provides His presence.

Foolish people, who don’t acknowledge God, will end in terror and alone.

God is going to help the righteous ones who seek God’s wisdom.

God is with the generation of the righteous. God’s peaceful presence transforms our lives. He is the one who makes us righteous by the blood of Jesus’s death on the cross.

6 You would shame the plans of the poor, but the LORD is his refuge. (Psalm 14:6 ESV)

God provides refuge

The LORD is the refuge for the poor. Those who lack peace or provision can run into God’s presence. His door is always open, and He is never too busy for us. God can overrule the plans of people who are not seeking Him. He can also bless the plans of those who do seek Him.

7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad. (Psalm 14:7 ESV) 

God provides hope.

In verse 7, hope skips into the scene. The LORD points to Zion because it is where God revealed Himself to man most personally as Jesus Christ. Salvation is here for us now, and the complete restoration is coming. Notice that it is not a matter of if; it says when the LORD restores the fortunes of His people because He will.

We can keep a hopeful perspective even in times when foolishness abounds.

God is in the restoration business and working now and not yet.


Lord, when I feel surrounded by foolishness, help me seek Your wisdom every day. Please help me to take the time to take refuge in you. Guard my heart against being hijacked by the tyranny of the urgent. I need to hear from you in your word first and daily. Lord, let me live with a hope-filled perspective set upon your promises and presence.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

How do you avoid flammable foolishness?

How Do I Hold Fast to the Blessed Hope? Psalm 24

A photo of an Advent Wreath on the Second Sunday of Advent.

In the days and weeks leading up to Christmas Day, I find my schedule filling to overflowing. Amazing events celebrating the season sprinkle across my calendar. Each neat square gets covered like an overly decorated Christmas cookie. And as a mother, grandmother, wife, ministry leader, and writer, I feel the pressure to buy all the things, bake all the things, create all the things, and be all the things for the most wonderful time of the year.

Prayerfully entering Advent during the four weeks leading up to Christmas day can transform this frantic time. Taking time each week to prepare my heart for the celebration of Jesus’ birth shifts my perspective away from the frenetic demands of this world. On Sunday, December 5th, the Second Sunday of Advent, this prayer will be prayed in Anglican churches around the world.  

Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and the comfort of your holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.    Amen

Anglican Church in North America Book of Common Prayer 2019 page. 598

Inside this prayer I find a clear directive to, “hold fast to the blessed hope of everlasting life.”  

In His kindness, God doesn’t simply direct us to do this in our sheer willpower. Instead, He provides believers with the “bread” for this sacred journey, God’s word. We are to hear, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest Holy Scriptures.

Praying through each verse of Psalm 24 can be a wonderful way to implement this practice. This psalm serves as a call to worship Christ our King of Glory. These verses remind us of Jesus’s kingly attributes.

1 The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

(Psalm 24:1-2 ESV)

Our King owns it all.

If I recognize Jesus today as the King who owns the entire world, and the fullness thereof, can I hold back from feeling the pressure to take care of all things that come to my mind? Can I lay that down today and bow to Him, my loving King?

3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.
(Psalm 24:3-4 ESV)

Our King provides access for His people to worship Him.

Jesus’ death on the cross gives me access to worship Him. In my own efforts, I can never have clean enough hands or a pure heart, but Jesus paid my debt for me. Today, I will choose to lay down my own efforts to measure up.

5 He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah
Psalm 24:5-6 ESV

Our King works through generations.

Whenever I see the word Selah weaved into the Psalms, I know a particularly profound declaration has been made. The word Selah signals me to pause and drink it in. I need to take note of Jesus’s promised blessings on those who seek Him. Even better news, He speaks of generations because His Heavenly Father works through families.

My relationship with Jesus has a profound effect on the generations that come after me. Because I am adopted into the family of God, my very identity has been changed. I have become the daughter of the “Most High King”. I am grafted into God’s family and so my daughter’s daughters will be affected by my choices. While each woman and man who comes after me will have to come to his or her own saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, our lineage will be profoundly altered by the change in my status.

7 Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!
Psalm 24:8-9 ESV

Our King reigns for eternity.

Jesus reminds me to lift up my head and shift my perspective from being caught up in my everyday stress. As I look up and see the blue skies, the trees of the field, my grandson’s face, the stars in the night sky, my temporary afflictions pale in comparison to the greatness of my King. He is strong, mighty and will win the ultimate battle and reign eternally.  

9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah
Psalm 24:9-10 ESV

Our King requests greater access to our lives and hearts.

Jesus is asking me today to open my heart and my life more fully to His presence. My tendency, when faced with challenges, is to close up. I need more of Jesus in my life for the ongoing work of sanctification and transformation.

Closing Prayer

Lord, in this season of Advent, help me to hold fast to the Hope I find in you. Open my eyes, heart, and mind to your word every single day. I truly need more of You and Your word. Amen.

How will you hold onto hope in the season of Advent?