Thursday, 11 June 2020
God’s Mercy & Steadfast Love
By: Hon Sir Neng

Psalm 85

1 You, Lord, showed favor to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.[b]
3 You set aside all your wrath
and turned from your fierce anger.

4 Restore us again, God our Savior,
and put away your displeasure toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, Lord,
and grant us your salvation.

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.

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.

How is it like to have offended someone precious in our life? Our usual response is to lament and we will plead for mercy. Psalm 85 is a psalm of lament and plea. It laments about Israel’s sinfulness and it is a pleads for God’s mercy. We will explore this psalm together and see what it teaches us about our walk with God, especially in light of our sinful nature.

The first 3 verses described God’s mercy. Despite Israel’s sinfulness, God forgave their iniquities and covered their sins (v2). He also withdrew His wrath and turned from His anger (v3). One of the signs of the Israelite’s favour before God is by looking at the whole nation. If the nation has been upright and obedient, the land will be prosperous, because this has been laid out in the Covenant between God and Israel (see Deuteronomy 28). Here, we see a display of God’s mercy towards His wayward and sinful people. Despite their sinfulness, God still showed His favour upon them.

Continuing from verses 4-7, we hear the psalmist lament about their sinfulness. In lamenting, he cried out to God’s mercy by asking God to restore them (v4) and to show them His steadfast love (v7). These 2 verses speak of God as the one Who gives salvation. In between verse 4 and 7, the psalmist pleads God in the form of a question, by asking about the duration of God’s anger (verse 5). He also asked God to revive them, by restoring the fortunes of the land, so that the people will rejoice in Him. This is a bold appeal before God, one that is of faith, trusting God for His mercy to forgive and trusting His steadfast love.

Verses 8-9 continues by describing the other aspect of His mercy. He will speak peace to His people, His saints. Peace is a result of God’s mercy! “BUT let them not turn back to folly.” As God shows us His mercy, we are called to respond in faith, which also entails us not to turn back to our folly, that is our sinfulness. Not in the sense where we make ourselves holy before we come to God. Rather, by not turning back to our folly is our proper response towards His mercy shown towards us as we trust in Him. Because verse 9 tells us that salvation is near to those who fear Him. For the Israelites, God’s glory will surely dwell in their land; God will not abandon them.

This psalm ends with a description of what it means to encounter God’s mercy. This is a display of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness, it comes together! God’s steadfast love is one that is eternal. By showing us His steadfast love and faithfulness, we will receive righteousness and peace together. God in His steadfast love and faithfulness will give what is good and yield increase in the land of Israel. This speaks about the unbreaking promises and favour that rest on His people. God’s righteousness will go before His people and guide them.

What does this psalm mean for us today as God’s people living in the 21st century? Firstly, we are being reminded of God’s mercy. Even in our sin, God forgives us as we continuously go before Him in faith and repentance. He will cover our sins, turn His anger away. Secondly, we are being reminded of God’s steadfast love. Just as God is faithful in keeping His promises to the Israelites by blessing their lands. God likewise keeps His promises and blesses us in Christ. In His faithfulness towards us, He will keep us and bring us to be with Him, the heavenly mount Zion (Heb. 12:22). Let us trust in Him, steadfast love. Lastly, may we not fall back to our folly (v8). Yes, we are sinful in our own right and we will fall. But may we be steadfast in our walk with God, asking Him for grace and strength to not turn back to our folly. IF we do fall, may we run to Him in repentance and faith (as the first point calls us to respond).

Prayer

As you pray, ask God’s Spirit to convict you. If you are in need of forgiveness, ask God for forgiveness in faith and repentance. If you are doubtful of God’s faithfulness, ask God to help you see His steadfast love in this passage, which He displayed towards Israel. If you are in need of help to fight against your sin, ask God’s Spirit to sanctify and to change every way of your thought and disposition.

11/06/20星期四
上帝的怜悯和慈爱
作者:韩思能

詩篇 85

1耶和華啊,你已經向你的地施恩,

救回被擄的雅各。

2你赦免了你百姓的罪孽,

遮蓋了他們一切的過犯。(細拉)

3你收回所發的憤怒,

撤銷你猛烈的怒氣。

4拯救我們的神啊,求你使我們回轉,

使你向我們所發的憤怒止息。

5你要向我們發怒到永遠嗎?

要將你的怒氣延留到萬代嗎?

6你不再將我們救活,

使你的百姓因你歡喜嗎?

7耶和華啊,求你使我們得見你的慈愛,

又將你的救恩賜給我們。

8我要聽神-耶和華所說的話,

因為他必應許賜平安給他的百姓,就是他的聖民;

他們卻不可再轉向愚昧。

9他的救恩誠然與敬畏他的人相近,

使榮耀住在我們的地上。

10慈愛和誠實彼此相遇,

公義與和平彼此相親。

11誠實從地而生,

公義從天而現。

12耶和華必賜福氣給我們;

我們的地也要出土產。

13公義要行在他面前,

使他的腳蹤有可走之路。

冒犯了我们生命中宝贵的人是什么样的感觉?我们通常的反应是哀叹,我们将求饶。诗篇85是哀叹和恳求的诗篇。它为以色列的罪恶感叹,并祈求上帝的怜悯。我们将一起探讨这首诗篇,看看它教会了我们如何与上帝同行,特别是鉴于我们的罪恶天性。

前三节经文描述了上帝的怜悯。尽管以色列有罪,但上帝原谅了他们的罪过并掩盖了他们的罪过(第2节)。他也摆脱了愤怒,摆脱了愤怒(第3节)。以色列人在上帝面前受宠的标志之一就是放眼全国。如果这个国家是正直而顺服的,那么这片土地将会繁荣昌盛。因为这是在上帝与以色列之间的盟约中规定的(申命记28)。在这里,我们看到了上帝对他任性而有罪的子民的怜悯。尽管他们有罪,但上帝仍然对他们表示恩宠。

从第4-7节继续,我们听到诗篇作者对他们的罪恶感叹。在哀叹中,他通过求上帝恢复他们并向他们展示他坚定的慈愛来呼唤上帝的怜悯(第4&7节)。这两节经文都说上帝是给予救恩的那一位。在第4至第7节之间,诗人通过询问上帝愤怒的持续时间,以疑问的形式恳求上帝(第5节)。他还要求上帝通过恢复国家的命运使他们复兴,以便人民为他欢喜。这是在上帝面前的大胆呼吁。他充满信心。相信上帝怜悯中的宽恕,相信他坚定的慈爱。

第8-9节继续描述了怜悯的另一方面。他必应许将平安赐给他的百姓-他的圣民。平安是上帝怜悯的结果!“他们却不可再转去妄行。” 当上帝向我们展示他的怜悯时,我们被召唤以信心回应。它要求我们不要转向愚蠢的方式,那就是我们的罪恶。并非在我们来到上帝之前就使自己成为圣洁的意义上。相反,当我们信任他时,我们对他的怜悯的正确反应就不会回到我们的愚蠢了。因为第9节告诉我们,救赎就在那些敬畏他的人相近。对于以色列人来说,上帝的荣耀必定住在他们的土地上。 上帝不会抛弃他们。

这首诗最后描述了遇见神怜悯的意义。慈爱和诚实彼此相遇!上帝的慈爱是永恒的爱。通过向我们展示他的慈爱与忠诚,我们将获得公义与和平。上帝将以他的慈爱和信实奉献给以色列人土地,带来善良和收益。这是关于祂子民的不败承诺和青睐。上帝的公义将在祂的子民面前去引导他们。

当神的子民生活在21世纪时,这首诗对我们有什么意思?首先,我们被提醒上帝的怜悯。即使在我们的罪中,当我们在信仰和悔改中不断在祂面前前进时,上帝也宽恕了我们。祂将掩盖我们的罪过,将怒气转走。其次,我们想起了上帝的慈爱。就像上帝忠于通过祝福以色列人的土地来履行对以色列人的信实一样。上帝同样信守诺言,并在基督里祝福我们。出于对我们的信实,他将使我们与天上的锡安山一起与我们同在(希伯来书12:22)。让我们相信他的慈爱。最后,让我们不要回到愚蠢(第8节)。是的,我们本应犯罪,我们会堕落。但是,愿我们在与上帝同行时坚定不移,向他祈求恩典和力量,不要再回到我们的愚行了。如果我们确实跌倒了,愿我们以悔改和信心奔向祂(正如第一点要求我们作出回应)。

祷文

当您祈祷时,请神的灵将您定罪。如果您需要宽恕,请在信仰和悔改上向上帝请求宽恕。如果您怀疑上帝的忠实性,请上帝帮助您在这段经文中表现出他对以色列的慈爱。如果您需要帮助来对抗自己的罪恶,请求神的圣灵成圣,并改变您的思想的所有方式。

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