“I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints- but let them not return to folly. . . . .Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.” (Psalm 85:8, 10)
I do not know if verse 10 will show up later in this collection of verses, but I did not want to take a chance that it would not. And I think it is the hopeful note that the latter part of verse 8 needs. It speaks to the hope that the saints, the Lord’s people, will not return to folly. But, I suspect that ‘folly’ (if the gentleness and innocence of a word is sufficient) is what we are seeing when we read the latest news of violence and war.
In God there is peace; in the presence of the Lord there is shalom. Surely during worship and the gathering of God’s people in worship there is peace. But stories from churches and congregations speak of, if not violence and war, disagreements, discord, and dissension. Does ‘folly’ have enough grit to describe such things? Some of the parallel translations use terms such as ‘stupidity’, ‘foolish ways’, ‘same offenses’ ,and ‘back sliding’. Again, I am not sure whether those words capture the devastation that humanity inflicts upon itself. But then since these words have been written, humanity has become much more efficient in the way it hurts itself.
However, I remind myself and you, gentle reader, that verse 8 starts “I will listen to what God the LORD will say. ” We have the promise of peace even it some return to ‘folly’ for love and faithfulness are allies, and righteousness and peace work hand in hand. Let us honor this sacred partnerships and partner with them to work towards peace in the world. Selah!