Lord, you poured out blessings on your land!
You restored the fortunes of Israel.
You forgave the guilt of your people—
yes, you covered all their sins.
You held back your fury.
You kept back your blazing anger.
Now restore us again, O God of our salvation.
Put aside your anger against us once more.
Will you be angry with us always?
Will you prolong your wrath to all generations?
Won’t you revive us again,
so your people can rejoice in you?
Show us your unfailing love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,
for he speaks peace to his faithful people.
But let them not return to their foolish ways.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
so our land will be filled with his glory.
Unfailing love and truth have met together.
Righteousness and peace have kissed!
Truth springs up from the earth,
and righteousness smiles down from heaven.
Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings.
Our land will yield its bountiful harvest.
Righteousness goes as a herald before him,
preparing the way for his steps. (New Living Translation)
Unfailing love, truth, righteousness, and peace are terms which all spiritual folk need to be familiar with, as well as experience every day.
Such love and commitment have their ground in God’s covenant loyalty and kindness which always holds on, even despite people’s fickle commitment.
Righteousness and peace are primarily relational terms which communicate a harmonious way of being with others and all creation.
Today’s psalm informs us that God will give exactly what the people have prayed for. This divine giving is a blessing by the Lord to those who long for wholeness, integrity, and unhindered connection with God and creation.
The metaphors surrounding the wonderful words give us a beautiful picture of the blessing realized, as if a big bucket of grace were being liberally poured over our heads.
This is no generic blessing from the almighty and everlasting God; it is personal.
In the grand immensity of the universe, the Creator God bends and condescends to the individual, as well as to all humanity. God’s steadfast love and ever-present faithfulness will meet to bless you and me.
The Lord will come alongside us with divine blessing. God’s grace will stick to us like glue in the form of right relationships and unity. It’s as personal as a kiss on the lips.
All of God’s attributes and character work in a seamless whole to bring divine acceptance and assistance to our lives. The good news here is that our struggles to be right and live right amidst terrible conditions of disease, war, and unrest will be vindicated with divine help.
So, take a big breath and exhale, allowing the worries and anxieties of adverse situations to be expelled from your weary soul. The Lord will give what is good.
Today’s psalm is a good reminder that salvation is not limited to a future state; it is also deliverance in this present world we inhabit, basking in the Lord’s love and shalom, and enjoying the good gifts God wants to give us right now.
But what if we have strayed from the truth and wandered down a bad road with unsavory characters?
The Lord will restore us. Why? Because that’s what God does.
Grace isn’t grace if we deserved it. Grace is only operable whenever there is a stink of a situation we have created for ourselves. God’s mercy exists to deal with all of our shortcomings, failings, sins, confusion, and misguided attempts at life.
Without mercy we are lost. Apart from grace, there’s no hope. The good news is that mercy really does exist, and, what’s more, there is an infinite storehouse of it. There is no point in which our screw-ups exhaust the supply of grace.
This reality brings us confident hope and inner gratitude. God’s unfailing and steadfast love brings deliverance, not bondage. The Lord’s infinite mercy, when truly experienced, is not taken as a license to do whatever I want but as a joyous get-out-of-jail-free-card which leads to a righteous life of wanting to please God in all I say and do.
He Giveth More Grace by Annie Johnson Flint, 1941
1. He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
2. When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
3. Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
4. His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.