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 A Melding of God’s Best 

It is Thanksgiving Monday as I am writing this column “For Pilgrims.”  We truly have much to give thanks for. The questions then come to our mind, “How do we determine what is of genuine worth?” “What are we truly grateful for?”  

Proverbs 17:1 points to an answer, “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” We may desire both prosperity and peace - but if we must choose between the two, God says, “Choose peace, not prosperity.”  God values peace more than prosperity.  

This takes me to the Psalm that, I believe, enlarges our understanding of what it means to have God’s fullest blessings and thus the greatest reasons to thank God for.  

The words leading to a description of God’s blessing leave no question that this is of God. Note these phrases, “he promises peace...surely his salvation is near those who fear him and his glory may dwell in our land.” (Psalm 85:8,9) Also the words following the description of God’s favor indicate this is the best God provides, “The LORD will indeed give what is good.”  (Ps. 85:12).  

This brings us to the question, “What is the LORD’s promise of peace, what is his salvation, where does his glory dwell?” The answer is this beautiful expression of God’s favor,
“Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.” Psalm 85:10  
The greatest good that our God desires for us is a settled state when these qualities fill our hearts, our homes, our church, our country. The best God wants for us is a situation when these four conditions exist together.  

The Israelites were crying for God to intervene and rescue, “Will you not revive us again?” They implored God to “Show them his unfailing love and grant them his salvation.” (6, 7).   

God answered with the fullest measure of blessings that included:  
- steadfast love - forgiving sin, sparing us of what we deserve  
- faithfulness / truth - God’s holiness but also his forgiveness and compassion  
- righteousness - not merely pointing things out, but putting things right  
- peace - not merely the absence of hostilities, but right relationships.    

The final line in Psalm 85 invites us to not merely bask in God’s bounteous blessings, but to follow in his path - “righteousness makes his footsteps a way.”  

May we embrace God’s bounty as God describes salvation.