3rd Wednesday in Advent, Dec. 18, 2013
Psalm 85
Vicar Paul Rockrohr

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.


“Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free. From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee.” Though our psalm was not the inspiration for the hymn, Charles Wesley captures the psalmist’s thoughts.


Dearly the psalmist desires that God would keep His promises, that the Lord would bring salvation near to those that fear Him, that glory would dwell in the land. It is finally not just about being released from bondage to sin and death, but about being in the presence of God. After all, the psalmist confesses that God is favorable to His land, that He has restored the fortunes of Jacob. Iniquity has been forgiven, sin covered over, wrath withdrawn. Then why does he cry out?

3rd Wednesday in Advent, Dec. 18, 2013 
Psalm 85
Vicar Paul Rockrohr

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.


“Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free. From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee.” Though our psalm was not the inspiration for the hymn, Charles Wesley captures the psalmist’s thoughts.


Dearly the psalmist desires that God would keep His promises, that the Lord would bring salvation near to those that fear Him, that glory would dwell in the land. It is finally not just about being released from bondage to sin and death, but about being in the presence of God. After all, the psalmist confesses that God is favorable to His land, that He has restored the fortunes of Jacob. Iniquity has been forgiven, sin covered over, wrath withdrawn. Then why does he cry out?


“Restore us again, O God of our salvation…will you not revive us again that your people may rejoice in you? Show us Your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.” Restore and revive, the needs of the sick and dying. These are felt needs, ones that cannot be ignored. We too, with the faithful in every time, feel these needs. We feel them as we groan under the cares of our own thoughts and lives. Fear, worry, depression, despair, the Christian is not immune to these or any other trouble of this life. Indeed, at times we may even wonder if God is angry with us, as the psalmist asks “will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? Will you not revive us again?” How many times have we laid awake in bed, tormented by our thoughts and cares, unable to sleep? How many times have you thought, “if only Jesus would return today”?


The desire for our Lord’s presence is a fruit of faith. Faith believes His promises, that He will come to heal and bind up. In a world that is so broken, with lives shredded all about, the desire for restoration and revival is reasonable. But look and see how the psalmist desires it to come about! “Show us your steadfast love!” This verb of sight is clear, there must be something to see, an object. “Grant us your salvation.” Salvation is placed alongside steadfast love, and becomes the same object.


This salvation that is seen as steadfast love, is heard when God the Lord speaks peace to his people. This is the great desire of the psalmist, that God Himself would speak to His people from His own mouth. That when God speaks it would not be with harsh words and accusations as sin and iniquity deserve, but that it would be with tender words of peace and steadfast love. Perhaps most of all, the great desire is that when this salvation is near the glory of God may dwell in the land, to see this salvation, living in the land as a neighbor and a friend.


This psalm longingly speaks of the coming of Christ, as the psalmist viewed it from afar. For where else do steadfast love and truthfulness meet than in Him? Where else does righteousness and peace kiss each other than in Jesus? Who else is the glory, the heaviness, the weight of God that dwells in the land than the Word made flesh? Truth can hurt, but He who is truth is also love. Truth would point out our sin, our unworthiness, and Christ does that. He will not let you deceive yourself, allow you to think that your sin is little or that you can do anything about it. If He let you trust in yourself, you would be lost for all eternity to Him. He desires to dwell with you, and after you despair of your own works He steps in and does it all. His steadfast love for you does what is needed, to cover over your sin. Thus when the God-man Jesus offered himself upon the cross for our salvation, love and truthfulness met, righteousness and peace kissed each other.


He is our salvation, the one who has come to dwell with us. Though we do not see him bodily with our eyes, we hear Him speak to us. And He does indeed speak peace to His people, His saints. Your sins are forgiven and covered over in His steadfast love by His blood. You are clothed in His righteousness, peace is won for you. He is truthful, so you may rest in Him who has put away the indignation of God. Do not turn back to folly, to earthly pursuits, as if they are what you are to long after. These are nothing in comparison. The psalmist longed for His first joyful coming as a babe on a Christmas morning long ago. You long for His second coming, when He will gather all of His saints, and in this season of joyful anticipation we look forward to God dwelling in the land with us. He came as He had promised so long ago that Christmas morn, He will come again. Amen.

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