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With New Testament Eyes: 61 - Mercy and Truth are Met Together

By Henry Mahan

      Psalm 85

      Our Lord told the disciples, 'All things must be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me.'(Luke 24:44). In preparing these lessons on 'Preaching Christ From the Old Testament,' it would be impossible to omit this Psalm, if only for Verse 10. God's mercy and truth, righteousness and peace meet only in Christ.

      v. 1. The author of this Psalm speaks of the past mercy and favor of God to the land of Israel and the people of Israel. The Lord brought them out of bondage and captivity. But all believers are the true sons of Jacob and seed of Abraham (Rom. 2:28-29; Gal. 3:7, 28-29). The land of the Lord is the kingdom of Christ, the church of Christ is true Israel and sons of Jacob (Mal. 3:6), and the captivity out of which he has brought us is the bondage of sin (Gal. 3:10, 13). This is a Psalm of victory and rejoicing of all believers of all ages and nations.

      vv. 2-3. In these verses four things stand out prominently.

      1. The author of all spiritual blessings. 'Thou hast. . .;' 'Thou hast been favorable;' 'Thou hast brought back the captivity. . .'; 'Thou hast forgiven. . .;' 'Thou hast covered. . .;' 'Thou hast taken away. . .' Salvation is of the Lord in its entirety, from its origination in eternity past to its consummation in glory (Rom. 8:29-30).

      2. The people who are so blessed are his people.

      'Jacob have I loved; Esau have I hated' (Rom. 9:11-16).

      They are his people by divine choice (John 6:37-39), his people by divine purchase (Acts 20:28; John 10:11), and his people by a divine call (1 Cor. 1:26-30).

      3. The blessing of his covenant. 'Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people;' not without price, for he was bruised for our iniquities (Isa. 53: 4-6), and our iniquity was laid on him. The reference here is to the scapegoat of Leviticus 16:20-22. 'Thou hast covered all their sin.' God set forth Christ to be a mercy-seat and a covering for sin, as the blood was sprinkled upon the mercy-seat of old (Lev. 16:15-16; Rom. 3:25).

      4. The extent of these blessings. 'Thou hast forgiven all their sin (1 John 1:7; Heb. 10:17) and thou hast taken away all thy wrath (Rom. 5:1, 8:1).

      vv. 4-5. In salvation there is the removal of God's wrath upon us (2 Cor. 5:19), and there is the removal of our enmity toward him. 'Be ye reconciled to God' (2 Cor. 5:20). Both are accomplished by the power of God (Psalm 110:3). The wrath of God is turned from us by the obedience and death of Christ, and our enmity is turned away in regeneration by the Holy Spirit giving us a new heart to love God (Rom. 5:5).

      v. 6. When we were dead men, like Ezekiel's bones, God did revive us and give us life in Christ. 'Wilt thou not revive us again?' and again? for we are in constant need of refreshing and renewal by his Spirit. 'That thy people may rejoice in thee;' never in themselves nor their doings (Phil. 3:3). We can find at all times ten thousand reasons to rejoice in the Lord and in his mercy.

      v. 7. 'Show us thy mercy, O Lord.' It is the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed (Lam. 3:22-26). All is mercy from first to last. Mercy passed by us in our blood and said, 'Live.' Mercy covered our nakedness with his robe of righteousness. Mercy washed away our sins and gave us repentance and faith. Mercy keeps us in the way and will not let us go until mercy has wrought its perfect work, conforming us to his image. 'Grant us thy salvation.' It is thy salvation. The plan is his, the provision is his, the application is his, the sustaining power is his, and the consummation is his. It is all of grace! The work whereby a dead, defiled sinner is lifted from the dunghill, washed, and made ready for the presence of the Lord is of God and of him only. Grant to us that perfect salvation!

      v. 8. 1 will hear thy word, O Lord! O, how vital is the word of God to his people! By his word he speaks peace in Christ. His word is the foundation of faith ( Rom. 10:17), the source of comfort, the means of growth (1 Peter 2:2), and the children's bread. Let us not turn again to sin nor to the beggarly elements, but find rest and all we need in him. There is no provision, protection against sin and apostasy nor daily peace to be found anywhere except in his word!

      v. 9. Our Lord is always near and with them that fear him, no matter the circumstances. He will never leave nor forsake us (Phil. 1:6), that he may be glorified and his glory may dwell in his kingdom.

      v. 10. O, what a declaration! What good news! These four divine attributes parted, as far as we are concerned, at the fall of Adam. Mercy was inclined to save men and peace could not be his enemy; but truth must order the death of the rebel, for 'God will by no means clear the guilty,' and righteousness demands perfect obedience to every jot and tittle of God's holy law. All of the divine attributes are in Christ, for he is very God of very God; but mercy and truth met in Christ on our behalf, and righteousness and peace kissed each other at Calvary. God is a just God and a Saviour! In the obedience and death of Christ for sinners, God is enabled to be both just and justifier (Rom. 3: 25- 26).

      v. 11. Promises which lie unfulfilled like buried seeds shall spring up in full view (Heb. 11:13), and God's righteousness shall rest upon his people like an open window in heaven. The person of Christ explains this verse most sweetly. In him truth is found in our humanity (Isa. 53:1), and his deity brings righteousness to us from heaven (2 Cor. 5:21).

      vv. 12-13. Every good and perfect gift is from him, and nothing good will he withhold from his people. He has willed our eternal good and is working all things together to accomplish it (Rom. 8:28). The righteousness by which we are justified and accepted in Christ has gone before, and he has set us in the steps our Lord already walked.

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See Also:
   Foreward & Acknowledgements
   1 - The Fall
   2 - Abel's Offering
   3 - The Ark Of Noah
   4 - Sarah and Hagar; Law and Grace
   5 - The Lord Will Provide
   6 - A Bride for the Heir
   7 - Bethel - The House of God
   8 - Peniel - The Face of God
   9 - Joseph Opens the Storehouses
   10 - Joseph and His Brothers
   11 - Shiloh
   12 - The Passover
   13 - The Manna
   14 - Water from the rock
   15 - The Blood Before the Lord
   16 - The Ram of Consecration
   17 - The Day of Atonement
   18 - Caleb - The Faithful Dog
   19 - The High Priest Intercedes
   20 - The Brazen Serpent
   21 - A Prophet Like Moses
   22 - The Cities of Refuge
   23 - Joshua
   24 - The Scarlet Line in the Window
   25 - The birth of Samson
   26 - The Kinsman Redeemer
   27 - The Song of Hannah
   28 - Give us a King
   29 - Saul's Great Sin
   30 - David and Mephibosheth
   31 - Why God Permitted David to Fall
   32 - Comfort from God's Covenant
   33 - I Will Not Offer to God that which Cost me Nothing
   34 - The Queen of Sheba Comes to Solomon
   35 - Three Examples of Faith
   36 - Where is the Lord God of Elijah?
   37 - Empty Vessels Filled
   38 - Naaman, the Leper
   39 - Open his Eyes that He may See
   40 - Four Lepers Teach us a Lesson
   41 - Nehushtan--A Piece of Brass
   42 - Bringing Back the Ark
   43 - Uzziah's Great Transgression
   44 - Four Things Learned in Trouble
   45 - How Can Man be Just With God?
   46 - Three Vital Questions
   47 - I Know that my Redeemer Liveth
   48 - Now Mine Eye Seeth Thee
   49 - The Psalm of Messiah the King
   50 - God's two great books
   51 - The Psalm of the Cross
   52 - The Lord is my Shepherd
   53 - True God - True Israel - True Redeemer
   54 - Eight Great Precepts
   55 - My Hope is in Thee
   56 - Many, O Lord, Are Thy Wonderful Works
   57 - A Song of Love
   58 - The Sinner's Prayer
   59 - My Rock and my Salvation
   60 - Our Lord's Sufferings for Our Sins
   61 - Mercy and Truth are Met Together
   62 - The Victory of the Messiah
   63 - Bless the Lord, O my Soul
   64 - Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
   65 - The King-Priest
   66 - The Chief Cornerstone
   67 - The Observer and the Observed
   68 - Praise the Lord O my Soul
   69 - Wisdom in Christ
   70 - The Conclusion of the Whole Matter
   71 - Remember Now Thy Creator
   72 - My Beloved is Mine and I am His
   73 - What is Thy Beloved more than Another Beloved?
   74 - The Lord Our Righteousness
   75 - The Believers Hope
   76 - From Nothing to Everything
   77 - Lost, Driven Away, Broken, Sick
   78 - Can These Bones Live?
   79 - Four Things God Taught Nebuchadnezzar
   80 - Thy God Will Deliver Thee
   81 - Hosea--Type of Christ
   82 - A Famine to be Feared
   83 - Salvation is of the Lord
   84 - A Fountain Opened for Mourners
   85 - The Messenger of the Covenant


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