The sense of present affliction should not be allowed to drown the remembrance of former mercies,
but should rather cause us to recall them with praise,
and encourage us to look for grace and mercy in reference to present distress.
1 LORD, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.
2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.
3 Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.
4 Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.
5 Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?
6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?
7 Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.
8 I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.
10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12 Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.
13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.
Psalm 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Psalm 85 – A Prayer for the Nation
This psalm is the counterpart of Psalm 80. There we see petitions ascending; here thanksgivings are returned. Evidently there had been granted some great national deliverance, which filled the land with thanksgiving. The restoration of the captives from Babylon was such an event; but the words well befit glad days of revival. They might have been sung on the first Easter day, when mercy and truth met at the Cross, and there was a bridal of the earth and sky. Reversed captivity, forgiven and buried sin, the dark clouds of estrangement dispelled, the speaking of peace—these are great themes and all have their counterparts in Christian experience.
There is exquisite beauty in Psalm 85:10-11. What a meeting of the divine attributes! The Cross is their trysting-place. It resembles the family-gathering of brothers and sisters in the old homestead. Notice that heaven must combine with earth in the production of Christian grace. Truth can spring up in the soil of our heart only when righteousness looks down with benignant love from heaven. But she does even more—she shows us how to walk in the way of God’s steps. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Psalm 85:10—Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
This has been fitly called “the bridal of the earth and sky.” Mercy is the love that finds its reason in itself, its measure in helplessness and ill-desert. But in God it is always blended with Truth. God must be faithful to his covenant relations, to his Son, to Himself, and to the law which He has instituted. Any display of mercy must be consistent with truth. These are heavenly twins. Where you meet one you will be sure of the other. Jesus was full of grace and truth. The love He brings is consistent with the highest considerations; and by his death it is so arranged that God acts consistently with his holy law in loving and saving the meanest and weakest believer.
Righteousness has for her twin sister Peace. “The work of righteousness shall be peace” (Isaiah 32:17). The King of Righteousness is after that the King of Peace. If you want peace, you must be right with God; and if you would be right with God, you must come to Jesus and become united to Him, who is made unto us the righteousness of God. At the cross these two kissed. The righteousness of God was satisfied, and the peace of man secured.
What a wondrous cross is that on which the Prince of Glory died! The question was—How could God be just, and yet justify the ungodly? How could He uphold the majesty of the moral law, and yet take sinners to his heart? But the answer came clear and satisfying, when the Maker of man took on Himself our sin and gave justice its due. Now see that perfect blending of the Divine attributes, and that God is “just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). Oh that truth might spring up as the response and echo of our hearts! —Our Daily Homily