Wednesday, March 1, 2017

EmmDev 2017-03-01 [Treasure Cupboard] Righteousness and Peace Kissing

Righteousness and Peace Kissing

Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, O LORD,
and grant us your salvation.      (Psalms85:1-13)
(I'm interrupting our Corinthians series for an Ash Wednesday Devotion...)

Psalm 85 is a beautiful prayer that is very appropriate for our country and for the start of Lent. Lent is a period set aside for repentance and for drawing near to God. (You can read more about it HERE.) Psalm 85 is a passionate plea for revival and restoration.

The Psalm starts with remembering how God had been with the people of Israel in the past:
1 You showed favour to your land, O LORD;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.              

3 You set aside all your wrath
and turned from your fierce anger.

But the Psalm writer recognises that that the people have fallen far from God. They have earned His displeasure and anger. Most significantly, they have reached the point that they cannot save themselves:
4 Restore us again, O God our Saviour,
and put away your displeasure toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, O LORD,
and grant us your salvation.

And so we need to draw near to God whose salvation is nearer than we realise and who promises peace:
8 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.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.

On Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, we resolve not to "return to folly" and we set our hearts to "listen to what God the LORD will say." We discover (through confession and forgiveness) that "His salvation is near those who fear Him."

And so we hang on to and live out the promises of God:
10 Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The LORD will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.

On this Ash Wednesday let us re-discover the joy of forgiveness and experience the meeting of love and faithfulness (we are unfaithful but Easter proves God's loving faithfulness to us). Let us remember that righteousness can only kiss with peace because of the cross. Let us then resolve to "let God's kingdom come on earth as in heaven" through being agents of God's faithfulness to the world. Let us work toward a harvest of righteousness and peace.

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