The first casualties of upheaval can be love, kindness, and patience. But crisis is also a moment when love for God & one another can spring up. For 150 days, starting on 17th March 2020, I will write 300 words based on one of the 150 psalms in the bible. How can I find and give love in the midst of coronavirus?
I like the white ones.
In 1637, tulips became very popular. I mean, really popular.
The first recorded ‘speculative bubble’ took place in the Netherlands where the introduction of the tulip took the nation by storm and people began to buy tulip bulbs and the prices rose. And they rose, and rose and rose [this is not a flower-based pun!]. They began to change hands up to ten times a day as people were making profits very fast. Shockingly fast. Prices reached such heights that winter that it is said that someone offered 12 acres of land in exchange for 2 bulbs (12 acres of farmland in the UK is worth over £80,000 at the moment).
But in February 1637, the bottom dropped out of the market, and it crashed. Fortunes where lost overnight. People were left destitute.
Did we learn from this? No.
Humans have continued to get excited and greedy about profit and there have been so many ‘speculative bubbles’ since. The Wall Street Crash, the Dot.Com bubble & the Great Recession of 2008. Will we ever learn?
The same question could be asked of God’s people in Israel again and again. Will they ever learn from their past? Psalm 106 isn’t sure they will, but prays that God will have mercy on them:
6 We have sinned, even as our ancestors did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly. 7 When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. 8 Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known.
12 Then they believed his promises and sang his praise. 13 But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold. 14 In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test.
Psalms 105,106 & 107 all take us back to the Exodus. They are trying to remind God’s people what God did in the past – to help them to trust and follow him in the present. But the story of the Exodus is of a people who so quickly forgot all that God did and promised, and made the same mistakes again and again – and wandered off to other gods.
It is part of fallen human nature. We forget, and we repeat our mistakes. But, and it’s a big but – we don’t have to do this. That’s part of why I read the bible, to remind me who God is, and to encourage me to keep following Him, and not to wander off. The Spirit of God promises to guide us – if only we will listen.
God is merciful to people who have wandered off and forgeotten him:
44 Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; 45 for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented.
Let’s make verse 3 our prayer and our commitment – to be those who do not forget who God is and what he has done – and who choose to follow him:
3 Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.
Help us LOrd, to remember you today.