Daily Family Worship

Psalm 85: The Psalm of Reconciliation

by | May 30, 2024

psalm 85

This Psalm is a prayer containing the feelings of a heart that fears the Lord; and in the most impressive words, it persuades the child of God to not dread His anger. Those who fear and love the Lord are not like the despisers and Epicureans, who are secure and care for nothing that happens; for when calamities fall upon Godly persons, their first and main concern is to turn to Him Who smites them, and to renew their peace with Him.

The Psalmist indicates that his nation had been experiencing the chastising hand of God. The anger which He had manifested against His people, at this time, was this: He had temporarily taken away from them His Word; He had diminished the number of those who preached it in truth; and He had made few the number of the true prophets, priests, and Levites. In addition to this, the peace of the nation was broken by seditions; and many evils prevailed in the state, and among the rulers thereof. And this was not all – for there came on also the dread and expectation of war, and the lack of the necessary provisions of life. These calamities generally follow one after the other, when God – according to the First Commandment – visits the iniquities of a people with His righteous judgments.

Therefore, the Psalmist prays that God would be pleased to preserve His people again, and also the nation. He desired Him to restore the real ministers of the Word, who preached it in truth; and by whom, God truly speaks unto mankind. Hence the Psalmist breaks forth (verses 8-13) with a wonderful burden of heart – as if he had said, “O that I might again hear the Lord truly speaking! O that the Word of God would be truly preached again, lest even the Godly ones should be ‘turned to folly’ – that is, lest they should be so broken down and utterly worn out by the greatness of their afflictions, that they do not know what to do! O that the worship of God and the prosperity of our nation may be restored, and that peace and harmony and truth and justice may flourish among us! O that the fruits of the earth and the produce of the fields and vineyards may be blessed, so that we may lead a Godly life in these days, and – as St. Paul says – look for the glorious return of our great God!”

Such a state is made possible by the wonderful transaction that we behold in verses 10 and 11. Truly, there is exquisite beauty in these verses! “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.” What a meeting of the Divine attributes is here! It gives a sense of happiness which resembles that of a gathering of brothers and sisters in the old family homeplace. All the Divine attributes – indeed, all the Persons of the Godhead – come together for man’s salvation, and they all center in the Person of Christ. Is not Jesus Himself emphatically called Mercy – the mercy promised? (Luke 1:72) And is He not Truth itself? (John 14:6) And is He not Righteousness – yes, “the Lord our Righteousness”? (Jer. 23:6; 1 Cor. 1:30) And is He not the Peace of His people? (Isa. 9:6; Eph. 2:14, 17; Mic. 5:5) And where did those seemingly opposite attributes ever meet, so as to concur and unite for the salvation of sinners, except in the Person of Jesus? Mercy inclines to pardon, but Truth must stand; and God said, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Righteousness allows no abatement, but Peace by the cross satisfies every demand! Was there ever an assemblage of Divine qualities so brought together, and so illustriously displayed for man’s salvation, as here in the Person of our Redeemer? O Emmanuel! Truth did indeed spring out of the earth, and You did indeed look down from heaven – in fact, You came down to earth – all to save sinners and reconcile us to Yourself! Cause us to see that all the Divine perfections are now eternally satisfied by Your wonderful and mysterious meeting; and that Jehovah has now glorified Himself, and made Your Church everlastingly happy, in the perfect salvation of Your blood and righteousness!

Lord, as we read and meditate over the most glorious things spoken of in this Psalm, let our whole affections be led out in holy rapture and praise and love to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for the wonders of redemption which are so beautifully and largely set forth here! We pray that You would be pleased to preserve us, Your people, again. Let Your worship and the prosperity of our nation be restored, and let peace and harmony and truth and justice flourish among us! Amen.

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