17 August 2019Micah 7:8-20
‘... as in the days of old.’ (v.14)
Psalm: Psalm 29
President Donald Trump managed to win an election in America with the slogan, "Make America Great Again". There are a number of assumptions behind this call and one or two suspicions. Was America once ‘great’ in the sense that the Republicans long for? Or is this nostalgia for a distant past a bit of a fantasy? Moreover, the suspicion arises in some that America was once very white and male (as other Western democracies) and his call to return to those days could be a hidden message to racists and misogynists. But while it has proved to be a divisive slogan, there is something in it that appeals.
"As in the days of old" has a feeling of simpler, safer, clearer times; of less noise and grief. It draws us. It is strange to see some trends in modern society looking back to the 70s and 80s; a nostalgia for times I lived through. The past can be exotic and attractive, but the dangers are obvious. In Micah, however, there is a distinction. The past is looked back to with a thankful remembrance of God’s faithfulness. Hope arises out of promises made, but not just any promise. They arise out the promises of a trustworthy source. A ten-pound note is worth little as plastic, ink and paper, but it is worth the cover price because it has "I promise to pay" on it. The thing about God’s promises, Micah is saying, is that God has a track record of keeping them. We may be faithless, give up, go astray and sink into despair but God doesn’t. God keeps on caring, striving and loving. Because of our memory of God’s dealing with us we can face the future.
New walls will be built. A new city will rise. The story of God is a story of promises made and kept, of promises fulfilled and seen to still point forwards to greater things to come. We are not nostalgic about the past when everything was better, we remember the past as evidence that our present situation is far from being unredeemable. The past may indeed be a time of much human error. In many ways today is better than the past! But in the past, even a white, male-dominated past, we learned of God’s continual faithfulness.
- What stories of God’s dealing with us give you most confidence for the future?
- How do you feel about the future in the light of God’s promises?