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9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.
10 Mercy and truth are met together;
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 Truth springeth out of the earth;
and righteousness hath looked down from heaven. (ASV translation)
There are days when God seems to be a contradiction. How can He stand to look at me in love but also in holiness as He sees the fullness of my sin and rebellion? How can He be merciful and also just if He is able to right the wrongs of this world in an instant and yet seems to remain silent?
My lack of faith is like a deep thirst that desperately needs to be quenched. Psalm 85 has been like cool water for me as I find myself doubting the consistency and care of God.
Verse 9 foretells the coming incarnation of Jesus; our salvation and glory dwelling in our land. Verse 10 beautifully illustrates mercy, truth, righteousness and peace meeting together and kissing in a warm embrace. While the selfishness of Adam produced discord, the servanthood of Immanuel forged unity. Without our long promised Messiah, the weight of truth and righteousness would be crushing. In Christ, mercy and peace re-form truth and righteousness into precious, priceless gifts.
From this framework verse 11 becomes a verse of comfort and joy. Truth is not springing forth from the earth as an angry beast meant to mete out justice, and righteousness is not a steely judge glaring down to pronounce sentence. Instead we see the loving arms of our Savior King wrapping us, from top to bottom and bottom to top, in the embrace of His redemptive grace.
Doubt will inevitably creep its way into our consciousness but in those moments, the Spirit of God has the power to reconcile our hearts and restore our sight in order that we can experience the warm, unifying embrace of God’s steadfast love for us in Christ.
Thank you, Father, for your immeasurable grace, freely given to us. Help us walk in the knowledge of your righteousness made ours. May we remember how dearly loved we are, and holy in your sight, this Advent season. Amen.
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1 Lord, you were favorable to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you covered all their sin. Selah
3 You withdrew all your wrath;
you turned from your hot anger.
4 Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
and put away your indignation toward us!
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
8 Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.
10 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
and righteousness looks down from the sky.
12 Yes, the Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness will go before him
and make his footsteps a way.