“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.” Psalms 85:1-13 NLT
Just as Israel had known the bountiful blessings from heavens storehouse, we, too, have been the recipients of the best of heavens coffers. Just as Israel had been forgiven and shown mercy, so have we. God withheld His wrath against Israel when they were deserved of punishment. He has done the same to us. The psalmist pleads for God to restore them again and put aside His anger toward their rebellious sin. He cries out to God and has a dialogue with Him. He asks God if He will hold His anger to all generations. He proceeds to ask if He would revive them so that they may rejoice in Him. He asks God to demonstrate His unfailing love and to grant salvation. Then, he takes the time to listen to what God had to say. This is so crucial in a mutual conversation. There must be a time to share and a time to listen. He knew that God would hear the cry of His people if they would simply call upon Him, but he admonishes them to not return to their foolish ways. So many times, as mortals, we cycle in and out of sinful foolishness. How many times has God granted us grace and mercy and yet we fall right back into the pattern of our foolishness. His patience with us is most extraordinary. In fact, it is absolutely divine. No one else would put up with what God does. God wants to grant us the bounty of His grace, mercy, peace, and prosperity. His nature is that of addition and multiplication, not subtraction and division. Satan is the subtracting and dividing one. In Genesis 1:28 God said to Adam and Eve "be fruitful and multiply". There, in the garden of Eden, man was engulfed with the utopia of utter righteousness and peace. There, God walked with them and talked with them. Sin disrupted all of that. Ever since, God has sought us out and called us out. He desires for us to be right with Him and to know His pleasure. God is pleasured when we walk in His righteousness and align ourselves with His character. When we do, His favor flows, like rich honey, upon our lives. The psalmist says that unfailing love and truth have met together and righteousness and peace have kissed. This is the epitome of what God is so desiring of. He wants to pour out His undying love and yet truth must accompany. Without truth, there is no foundation upon which love can posture. True love is truth. Truth is genuine love. All other "so called" forms of love are fatally flawed and cast us upon the ash heap of ruin. Without righteousness, there is no peace!!. ““But there is no peace for the wicked,” says the Lord.” Isaiah 48:22 NLT “There is no peace for the wicked,” says my God.” Isaiah 57:21 NLT If we want the mass shootings to stop, civility to return, and security to be restored to our society, the Prince of Peace must reign in His righteousness. Otherwise, things will only continue to spiral downward. How foolish can we be to think that politics and policies will resolve our nations ills. Utter ignorance of the truth is the issue. Where Jesus reigns, so does peace!!
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Rev. Curtis Norris