“Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Yes, the Lord will give what is good; and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway” (Psalm 85:10-13).
Many of us (not so much me, but certainly my wife) love to watch a romantic movie where 2 people, who may be quite different and who may at times have a lot of tension between them, finally come together and embrace in a kiss as an expression of their love for each other. A kiss is a show of tender affection whether it is given mutually by two people who are in love, given as a greeting on one’s cheek (Romans 16:16), or if it be given by a soldier returning to his native land as he kisses the ground as a show of his love and gratitude for his country.
In Psalm 85 speaks about how righteousness and peace have “kissed” (Psalm 85:10). The psalm speaks a lot about the tension between God and His people, but it also speaks about His love for His people. The tension between them exists because of their struggle with sin. God is angry with His people because of their sin and they cry out to Him for mercy: “Restore us, O God of our salvation, and cause Your anger toward us to cease. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your mercy, Lord, and grant us Your salvation” (Psalm 85:4-7). God’s people realize their sin has caused a breech in their relationship with God, which they desperately want to be restored.
This psalm also speaks about God’s love for His people and His willingness to forgive them: “Lord, You have been favorable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob. You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. You have taken away all Your wrath; You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger” (Psalm 85:1-3). Because of His love for His people, God is willing and eager to forgive their sin as they repent of their wrongdoing.
The author of this psalm expresses the people’s repentance and God’s forgiveness of His people in a beautiful way: “Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed” (Psalm 85:10). In other words, the people’s desire to be righteous and turn back to God is now met with God’s love and forgiveness as peace is restored to their relationship with God. As God and His people meet, the picture is given that they embrace in an affectionate kiss. A similar picture is described in the parable of the prodigal son following the son’s repentance and his desire to return to his father: “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:10).
How do I view God’s reacting to my desire to repent and turn from my sin? Do I view Him as still having His arms crossed and continuing to scornfully look at me with eyes of disappointment or do I view Him as rushing to me and embracing me with an affectionate kiss on the cheek? Today, I choose to take the later view of God because this is how the Scriptures picture God’s reacting towards my repentance and return back to Him. I rejoice that I the Lord, whom I serve, has such affection for me!
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).