Tidings of Peace to be Spoken to Consciences Distressed
Psalm 85:8
I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace to his people, and to his saints…

In the words you have a discovery of God's proceedings in treating of peace or proclaiming war with His people and subjects.

1. You see that sometimes God doth not speak peace to His own children. This was their state for the present, when this psalm was penned: "He will speak peace"; therefore, at present He did not.

2. There must needs be some great reason for this, they being His people. They had fallen into some gross folly or other; some sinful, inordinate dispositions had been indulged unto and nourished in them; which is usually, though not always, the cause of this His dealing. And as wicked men may out of His patience have a truce; so, on the contrary, with His own, God may take up a quarrel; yet He loves them, and remembers them with everlasting kindness. The uses are these —

(1) As peace with God is dear to you, so to take heed of turning unto folly. Only take this advertisement, that they are not mere follies or ignorances that do interrupt or break the peace.

(2) Doth God take up quarrels against His own? Then, upon any breach made, go forth to meet Him. Let not the sun go down upon God's wrath towards thee.

(3) If the peace of God's own people be thus often interrupted, what wrath is reserved for the children of disobedience?

3. When the child of God wants peace, he can have no peace till God speak it.

(1) Because God is the king of all the world, the sovereign Lord of all.

(2) Because God is the Judge of all the world, and the party offended.

(3) Peace, especially of conscience, is a thing must be created, for our hearts of themselves are full of nothing but turmoil, as the raging sea, which cannot rest.

(4) The wounds of conscience which are in God's people are of that quality that none but God can cure them; for the chief thing that wounds them is the loss of God's favour, not simply His wrath.

4. Let God's people be in never so great distress, yet it is an easy thing for God to give place to them.

(1) Because His speaking is creating; if He speaks, He makes things to be, even with a word. As at first He did but say, "Let there be light, and there was light"; so still, if He but say, "Let there be peace," there is peace; He made all, and upholds all by the word of His power.

(2) Because the light which God gives to a man's spirit when He speaks peace is a sure and infallible light, and therefore a satisfying light, so as when it comes it must needs give peace, and no objection, no temptation can darken or obscure it when it shines.

5. Let God be never so angry, and His people's distress never so great, yet He will speak peace in the end to His people.

(1) Consider who this God is that is to speak peace, "I will hear what God the Lord will speak"; He is the Lord, and therefore able to speak what pleaseth Him; He is peculiarly "the God of peace," and therefore willing to speak peace.

(2) Consider who they are to whom He is to speak it. They are His people, as the text hath it; and to them there is no question but He will speak peace, though He seems angry for a while.

(3) If God did not in the end speak peace, they would indeed return to folly. As it is a rule in physic still to maintain nature, and therefore when that shall be in hazard to be destroyed, they leave giving purging physic, and give cordials; so doth God with His people: though with purging physic He often brings their spirits very weak and low, yet He will uphold and maintain their spirits, so as they shall not fail and be extinguished, but then He will give cordials to raise them up again.

( T. Goodwin.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

WEB: I will hear what God, Yahweh, will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, his saints; but let them not turn again to folly.

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