Show us Your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us Your salvation. I will listen to what the LORD God will say; for He will speak peace to His people, His faithful saints - but let them not return to folly. Surely His salvation is near those who fear Him, that His glory may dwell in our land. Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. (Psalm 85:7-11)
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Everybody wants peace.
No, I am not talking about peace as the "opposite of war" or the 1970's "hippie" movement. Instead, I am talking about peace on an individual, familial, and personal level. Peace is the freedom from disturbance; completeness; safeness; and deliverance.
But all of these words tend to seem so far from us.
We look around our world and what we see and feel is anything but peace: death, famine, destruction, rape, immorality, persecution, etc. All around us are clear reminders that this world has a different ruler and a very different "way" of life. And every bit of this disturbs us with anxiety, fear, and inner chaos.
Too often, our momentary inability to see and experience peace causes us to react, engage, or disengage.
You can look on your Facebook news feed and see our "go-to's" when dealing with chaos.
We want peace, but do not see - let alone feel - it... So we react to chaos with more chaos; engage in the chaos with our built up anxieties; or disengage with it all, forfeiting any positive notions of real peace. In doing this, we get mad at the Giver of Peace because we feel that He has not offered enough of it.
But Psalm 85 shows us that peace is real, peace is present, and peace is spoken over us...now and always.
I love today's pslam, because it reminds me that peace is heard, experienced, and spread ONLY when the hearer is listening: "I will listen to what the LORD God will say; for He will speak peace to His people."
Notice that there are two "wills" at work here. God will - and "wills to" - speak....but we must first "will to" listen.
This is what it means to be a "faithful servant" who does not "return to folly." Folly, in this context, means turning back to our own hearts, stupidity, and lack of faithfulness.
My inability to see and experience peace is often due to my lack of faithfulness.
In fact, when looking at the Hebrew word for peace, it has a powerful connection with the word "friend." In this context, peace and relational friendliness coexist between us and God.
Without the friendship, one will not feel - or hear - His spoken peace. [please notice that this does not mean that the peace is absent...]
This is why the psalmist writes: "Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven."
Literally, our love and His faithfulness (and His love and our faithfulness) meet together. This "friendship" is not one-sided. In order for us to grow in an understanding of His faithfulness and love, we must grow in our faithfulness and love towards Him.
And in order for us to experience the peace that He is always speaking, we must live out our new identity as being righteous and blameless.
This does not mean that chaos will vanish, instead, it means that amidst the chaos our faithfulness will give us ears to hear, experience, and spread His spoken peace. Let us hear that again...Amidst the chaos, our faithfulness will give us ears to hear, experience, and spread His spoken peace.
So today, listen in and let your love and faithfulness meet with His. And let your display of His righteousness allow you to be kissed with His peace.
Then, and only then, can we spread it.
Thank you so much for joining us today. We would love for you to help us out by spreading today's devotion and letting us know your thoughts on today's IG post! (instagram.com/declareglory)
Greg, Declare Glory