Have you ever needed to ask someone for forgiveness? It is a difficult place to be in because it means admitting that you have done something wrong. You also might not know how the offended person might react. You might ask for forgiveness, but will they grant it?
In today’s reading, Israel found itself in the position of having to once again ask God for forgiveness and restoration. They begin by reminding God of how He has forgiven them in the past (vv. 1–3). There are many examples to choose from: the golden calf incident, the period of the judges, or the capture of the ark. Israel knew that God is a forgiving God, but they also knew that He is just and would allow the consequence of sin to run its course.
Here Israel begs, “Restore us again, God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us” (v. 4). They asked God to turn from His just anger and to demonstrate His love toward them (vv. 5–7). In verse 8, God responds, “I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—but let them not turn to folly.” God not only promises to restore His people but also to give them a vision of His desired future.
Of course, it is possible to have peace without justice, truth without love, or justice without compassion. God, however, presents a future where “[l]ove and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other” (v. 10). In other words, this future will be a time of true well-being. God’s love, faithfulness, righteousness, and peace will come together in an embrace that permeates the entire world.
>> God’s justice and peace have been demonstrated most fully in the life and death of Jesus. Because of His work on the cross, God’s justice and love can both be satisfied. Psalm 85 should remind us not to underestimate either our sinfulness or God’s gracious and costly forgiveness.
Father God, may we never live a day without thanking You for sending Your Son to take our place on Calvary. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we experience love, faithfulness, righteousness, and peace every day.