The devil is the great disrupter. He has brought disharmony to the universe. But God brings harmony. In these verses four great attributes of God meet together—love, faithfulness, righteousness and peace—and then like conquering generals they march side by side to a victory that is the sure and certain hope of God's people. The stanza suggests three harmonies.

Having reminded himself of God's past mercies and having prayed for a renewal of those mercies in his own day, what does the psalmist do next? He does what Habakkuk did in a nearly identical situation. He waits for God to answer (vv. 8, 9). The text says, "I will listen to what God the LORD will say."

In yesterday's reading we saw the need to reflect on past mercies. However, remembering the past does not always provide victory in the present. Therefore, in the second stanza of this gentle, perceptive psalm the writer moves to direct petition (vv. 4-7). That is, he moves to prayer. On the people's behalf, he asks God to: 1) restore us again (v. 4); and 2) revive us again (v. 6).

The place we have to start to overcome discouragement is by reflecting on the goodness of God toward us in past days (vv. 1-3). This is part of the problem, of course, because it is the unfavorable contrast between these past experiences of God's mercies and the lack of them now that has caused us to become discouraged. Yet it is part of the solution too, since it is because God is good that we have hope of recovering what we've lost.

Have you ever been discouraged? Not just about life—perhaps because things have not gone very well for you recently, which is the case time and again for many of us—but about your spiritual life? Or perhaps I could be even more specific: Have you ever been discouraged because the life you are living now does not seem to be as real or as joyful as your life was after you first became a Christian?