How many times have you spoken to someone and then realized that they didn’t hear a word you have spoken? Not because they are deaf, but because they are wearing some type of ear device listening to something else – often music. There are so many other options these days to distract us from really hearing what is important – in fact what is life giving, instead of life numbing.
Our psalmist was determined to listen. Not to what others were saying around him, not to the distracting noise all about him, but listen to the life-giving words of the Sovereign Lord and King of the universe. He wrote:
8 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.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.
Prior to this he had asked God to restore him and his people, to turn them around to face him and enable them to walk faithfully the paths that he had set out for them. He knew that this was God’s desire for them as he reminds them and us, he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants and that surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. But he also warns them and us, do not turn to folly, or as the Passion Translation says: don’t let us in our ignorance turn back from following you.
With all the noise and distractions in our day, we too need to be constantly reminded of this truth – listen to what God the Lord says and keep following him.
Then follows some fascinating language, in English grammar called “personification”, meaning “the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something non-human, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.” And so, the psalmist continues and personifies some beautiful truths concerning some of God’s characteristics:
10 Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.
“We see Faithfulness and Covenant Love meeting. Righteousness and Peace embracing, and are thus shown that heaven and earth are in harmony, as God intended. Righteousness in particular is the herald of his coming, whether he comes at the end of the age or into the present life of the repentant people of God; for where sinners turn to him in penitence and faith, they find that he is both ‘just and the one who justifies’.” (# 5)
These last words are a quote from Paul’s letter to the Romans where he explains that the ultimate fulfillment of this meeting together of faithfulness and love, and the embracing of righteousness and peace, are all found in the coming of Jesus. He explains:
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26)
When the psalmist proclaimed (prophetically) that God promises peace to his people, his faithful servants, and that surely his salvation is near those who fear him, this was an example of what Paul was talking about when he said, the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
Are you longing for God’s peace and salvation? Do you want to experience his faithfulness, love and righteousness in your own life? Well, here is the answer – it is found in Jesus and none other. Listen to him, then respond to him in faith and allow him to transform your life.
What an incredible privilege Father to know you, and be free of striving for some sort of salvation which is no salvation at all. Speak to our hearts the wonderful truths that when we turn to you, we are justified freely by [your] grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Amen