Mercy and truth are met together - It would be more simple to translate the original: -
נפגשונ ואמת חסד
נשקו ושלום צדק
Chesed veemeth niphgashu ;
Tsedek veshalom nashaku, - "
Mercy and truth have met on the way
Righteousness and peace have embraced."
This is a remarkable text, and much has been said on it: but there is a beauty in it which, I think, has not been noticed.
Mercy and peace are on one side; truth and righteousness on the other. Truth requires righteousness; mercy calls for peace.
They meet together on the way; one going to make inquisition for sin, the other to plead for reconciliation. Having met, their differences on certain considerations, not here particularly mentioned are adjusted; and their mutual claims are blended together in one common interest; on which peace and righteousness immediately embrace. Thus, righteousness is given to truth, and peace is given to mercy.
Now, Where did these meet? In Christ Jesus.
When were they reconciled? When he poured out his life on Calvary.
Mercy and truth are met together - That is, in the divine dealings referred to in the psalm. There has been a blending of mercy and truth in those dealings; or, both have been manifested; truth, in the divine statements, threatenings, and promises; and mercy, in forgiving sin, and in sparing the people. There is no necessary contradiction between truth and mercy; that is, the one does not necessarily conflict with the other, though the one seems to conflict with the other when punishment is threatened for crime, and yet mercy is shown to the offender - that is, where the punishment is not inflicted, and the offender is treated as if he had not sinned. In this respect, the great difficulty in all human governments has been to maintain both; to be true to the threatening of the law, and at the same time to pardon the guilty. Human governments have never been able to reconcile the two.
If punishment is inflicted up to the full measure of the threatening, there is no manifestation of mercy; if mercy is shown, there is a departure from justice, or a declaration that the threatenings of the law are not, in all cases, to be inflicted: that is, there is, to that extent, an abandonment of justice. Human governments have always felt the need, in their practical operations, of some device like an atonement, by which the two might be blended, and both secured. Such a method of reconciliation or of securing both objects - truth, in the fulfillment of the threat, and mercy toward the offender - has never been (and could not be) acted on in a human administration. It is only in the divine government that this has been accomplished, where a true and perfect regard has been paid to truth in the threatening, and to mercy toward the guilty by an atonement. It is true, indeed, that this passage does not refer to the atonement made by the Redeemer, but there can scarcely be found a better illustration of that work than occurs in the language used here. Compare the notes at Romans 3:26. See also my work on the “atonement,” chapters ii., iii.
Righteousness - In the maintenance of law, or the manifestation of justice. That is, in this case, God had shown his justice in bringing these calamities on the people for their sins. In the work of the Redeemer this was done by his being “wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities;” by the fact that “the chastisement of our peace was upon him,” and that “the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6. “And peace.” Pardon; mercy; restoration to favor. In the case of the Hebrew people this was done by his removing the calamities which their sins had brought upon them, and by his returning favor. In the work of redemption, it was done by the pardon of sin, and by reconciliation to God.
Have kissed each other - As friends and lovers do; as they do who have been long separated; as they do who, after having been alienated and estranged, are made friends again. In like manner, there seemed to be an alienation - an estrangement - a state of hostility - between righteousness and mercy, between justice and pardon, but they have been now united as separated and alienated friends are, and have embraced each other as such friends do; that is, they blend together in beautiful harmony.
Responsibilities in Government to Be Shared—Unitedly and prayerfully the father and mother should bear the grave responsibility of guiding their children aright.1 AH 312.1
Parents are to work together as a unit. There must be no division. But many parents work at cross-purposes, and thus the children are spoiled by mismanagement.... It sometimes happens that, of the mother and father, one is too indulgent and the other too severe. This difference works against good results in the formation of the characters of their children. No harsh force is to be exercised in carrying out reforms, but at the same time no weak indulgence must be shown. The mother is not to seek to blind the eyes of the father to the faults of the children, neither is she to influence them to do those things which the father has forbidden them to do. Not one seed of doubt should the mother plant in her children's minds in regard to the wisdom of the father's management. She should not, by her course of action, counteract the work of the father.2 AH 312.2Read in context »
Be just what you wish your children to be when they shall have charge of families of their own. Speak as you would have them speak.15 CG 261.1
Guard Tones of the Voice—Speak always in a calm, earnest voice, in which no trace of passion is expressed. Passion is not necessary to secure prompt obedience.16 CG 261.2
Fathers and mothers, you are responsible for your children. Be careful under what influences you place them. Do not, by scolding or fretting, lose your own influence over them for good. You are to guide them, not to stir up the passions of their mind. Whatever provocation you may have, be sure that the tone of your voice betrays no irritation. Do not let them see in you a manifestation of the spirit of Satan. This will not help you to fit and train your children for the future, immortal life.17 CG 261.3Read in context »
Through Jesus, God's mercy was manifested to men; but mercy does not set aside justice. The law reveals the attributes of God's character, and not a jot or tittle of it could be changed to meet man in his fallen condition. God did not change His law, but He sacrificed Himself, in Christ, for man's redemption. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. DA 762.1
The law requires righteousness,—a righteous life, a perfect character; and this man has not to give. He cannot meet the claims of God's holy law. But Christ, coming to the earth as man, lived a holy life, and developed a perfect character. These He offers as a free gift to all who will receive them. His life stands for the life of men. Thus they have remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. More than this, Christ imbues men with the attributes of God. He builds up the human character after the similitude of the divine character, a goodly fabric of spiritual strength and beauty. Thus the very righteousness of the law is fulfilled in the believer in Christ. God can “be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Romans 3:26. DA 762.2
God's love has been expressed in His justice no less than in His mercy. Justice is the foundation of His throne, and the fruit of His love. It had been Satan's purpose to divorce mercy from truth and justice. He sought to prove that the righteousness of God's law is an enemy to peace. But Christ shows that in God's plan they are indissolubly joined together; the one cannot exist without the other. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10. DA 762.3Read in context »
There is the throne, and around it the rainbow of promise. There are cherubim and seraphim. The commanders of the angel hosts, the sons of God, the representatives of the unfallen worlds, are assembled. The heavenly council before which Lucifer had accused God and His Son, the representatives of those sinless realms over which Satan had thought to establish his dominion,—all are there to welcome the Redeemer. They are eager to celebrate His triumph and to glorify their King. DA 834.1
But He waves them back. Not yet; He cannot now receive the coronet of glory and the royal robe. He enters into the presence of His Father. He points to His wounded head, the pierced side, the marred feet; He lifts His hands, bearing the print of nails. He points to the tokens of His triumph; He presents to God the wave sheaf, those raised with Him as representatives of that great multitude who shall come forth from the grave at His second coming. He approaches the Father, with whom there is joy over one sinner that repents; who rejoices over one with singing. Before the foundations of the earth were laid, the Father and the Son had united in a covenant to redeem man if he should be overcome by Satan. They had clasped Their hands in a solemn pledge that Christ should become the surety for the human race. This pledge Christ has fulfilled. When upon the cross He cried out, “It is finished,” He addressed the Father. The compact had been fully carried out. Now He declares: Father, it is finished. I have done Thy will, O My God. I have completed the work of redemption. If Thy justice is satisfied, “I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.” John 19:30; 17:24. DA 834.2
The voice of God is heard proclaiming that justice is satisfied. Satan is vanquished. Christ's toiling, struggling ones on earth are “accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6. Before the heavenly angels and the representatives of unfallen worlds, they are declared justified. Where He is, there His church shall be. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10. The Father's arms encircle His Son, and the word is given, “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” Hebrews 1:6. DA 834.3
With joy unutterable, rulers and principalities and powers acknowledge the supremacy of the Prince of life. The angel host prostrate themselves before Him, while the glad shout fills all the courts of heaven, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Revelation 5:12. DA 834.4Read in context »