As a child, I remember learning the Peter, Paul and Mary song, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" The flowers have gone to young girls, and the young girls have gone to husbands, and the husbands have gone to soldiers, and the soldiers have gone to graveyards, and the graveyards have gone to flowers, and the flowers have gone to young girls. Each cycle raises the question, "When will they ever learn." That's the question I hear in the whole of Psalm 85. When will we ever learn? As humans we are forever returning to folly (NIV translation of verse 8c). No matter how many times the Lord rescues us from ourselves—and from the damage we do to one another—when will we ever learn? When will we listen to the Lord and live into the promised peace and wholeness that is ours in Christ? I hope we learn soon.
Psalm 85:8-13 (NRSV)
8 Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
9 Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
10 Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.
12 The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.