65

LORD, You Have Lavished on Your Land (Psalm 85)

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

In a time of distress after being restored from captivity, the people of God pray for a renewal of God's mercies. If the restoration referred to is Israel's return from Babylon, the troubles are probably those alluded to in Nehemiah and Malachi–verse 12 suggests a severe drought. As you have pardoned and restored us before, prays the psalmist, show us your grace once more (st. 1). Forgive, revive, and bless us in your mercy, O God (st. 2). Surely the LORD's salvation is near and unfailing (st. 3). God's love and faithfulness and righteousness and peace all come together in God's grace (st. 4). The beautiful imagery of love and faithfulness meeting together while "righteousness and peace kiss each other" (v. 10) has made Psalm 85 a favorite for God's people everywhere. Marie J. Post (PHH 5) versified this psalm in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The intensity of this song with its profound sense of God’s goodness toward his world is a reminder of Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 5: “God holds this world in fierce love. Keeping his promise, he sends Jesus into the world, pours out the Holy Spirit, and announces the good news; sinners who repent and believe in Jesus live anew as members of the family of God—the first fruits of a new creation.”
65

LORD, You Have Lavished on Your Land (Psalm 85)

Call to Worship

Show us your unfailing love, O God, our Savior,
and grant us your salvation.
Listen to what the Lord our God says:
He promises peace to his people,
who are his beloved saints.
The Lord will indeed give what is good.
Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.
May the Lord make his holy face to shine upon us
in this time of Advent worship.
May we see God’s face and so know peace. Amen.
—based on Psalm 85:7-13, NIV
[Reformed Worship 57:8]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
As we enter this season of Advent,
may the love of God the Father, and the grace of Jesus the Son,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be and abide with us all.
Amen!
[Reformed Worship 57:4]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Confession

If we look at our own lives,
we must confess the mixture of giving and selfishness,
our waiting on the Lord turned to an endless rush,
our missing the mark of Advent.
Lord, forgive our frantic ways and misplaced efforts.
But we can also trust in God,
who still brings us salvation,
who still supplies us strength,
who hears our songs of gratitude,
who accepts our joyful praise.
Let us all draw water from the wells of salvation.
Let us shout it in church and in town:
The Lord’s great name will still be praised.
His saving deeds support our lives.
His greatness still astounds us.
The Holy One of Israel is among us.
Praise the Lord and sing for joy.
—based on Isaiah 12
[Reformed Worship 9:23]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Assurance

Surely God’s salvation is at hand for those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
and righteousness will look down from the sky.
The Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him
and will make a path for his steps.
In Christ, God’s salvation is at hand, and righteousness has come.
Thanks be to God!
—based on Psalm 85:9-13, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

Provider of righteousness and peace,
through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ you reunited heaven and earth.
When sin disrupts the harmony of creation,
pour out your Holy Spirit upon your waiting people
so that we would trust you, love you, and become your agents of reconciliation
in a cruel and hurting world. Amen. 

If our lives are dry and parched,
Lord, send the living waters of your Spirit
to revive us, to enliven us,
to bring forth new life.
Immanuel, come quickly.
If our times are empty and barren,
Lord, grant us a rich harvest,
send us home with sheaves of blessing,
fill us with your abundance,
and teach us to share the harvest with others.
Immanuel, come quickly.
If our bodies are weary and heavy laden,
Lord, fill us with laughter;
give us shouts of joy;
envelop us with your gladness.
Immanuel, come quickly.
If our lives are small and trivial,
Lord, make us see great things;
enlarge our vision;
widen our borders.
Immanuel, come quickly.
—based on Psalm 126
[Reformed Worship 9:22]
 
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two
65

LORD, You Have Lavished on Your Land (Psalm 85)

Tune Information

Name
MELITA
Key
C Major
Meter
8.8.8.8.8.8

Recordings

65

LORD, You Have Lavished on Your Land (Psalm 85)

Hymn Story/Background

The beautiful imagery of love and faithfulness meeting together while "righteousness and peace kiss each other" (v. 10) has made Psalm 85 a favorite for God's people everywhere. Marie J. Post versified this psalm in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal 1987.
 
The musical setting here is by John B. Dykes, originally composed as a setting for William Whiting's "Eternal Father, Strong to Save." Published in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861) with that text, MELITA is often referred to as the "navy hymn." The tune is named after the island of Malta where Paul was shipwrecked.
 
A fine tune, MELITA is marked by good use of melodic sequences and a harmony that features several dominant sevenths (both are Dykes's trademarks). Sing in harmo­ny; because the lines flow into each other in almost breathless fashion, use a stately tempo.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Marie (Tuinstra) Post (b. Jenison, MI, 1919; d. Grand Rapids, MI, 1990) versified this psalm in 1983 for the Psalter Hymnal 1987. While attending Dutch church services as a child, Post was first introduced to the Genevan psalms, which influenced her later writings. She attended Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she studied with Henry Zylstra. From 1940 to 1942 she taught at the Muskegon Christian Junior High School. For over thirty years Post wrote poetry for the Grand Rapids Press and various church periodicals. She gave many readings of her poetry in churches and schools and has been published in a number of journals and poetry anthologies. Two important collections of her poems are I Never Visited an Artist Before (1977) and the posthumous Sandals, Sails, and Saints (1993). A member of the 1987 Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee, Post was a significant contribu­tor to its array of original texts and paraphrases.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

As a young child John Bacchus Dykes (b. Kingston-upon-Hull' England, 1823; d. Ticehurst, Sussex, England, 1876)  took violin and piano lessons. At the age of ten he became the organist of St. John's in Hull, where his grandfather was vicar. After receiving a classics degree from St. Catherine College, Cambridge, England, he was ordained in the Church of England in 1847. In 1849 he became the precentor and choir director at Durham Cathedral, where he introduced reforms in the choir by insisting on consistent attendance, increasing rehearsals, and initiating music festivals. He served the parish of St. Oswald in Durham from 1862 until the year of his death. To the chagrin of his bishop, Dykes favored the high church practices associated with the Oxford Movement (choir robes, incense, and the like). A number of his three hundred hymn tunes are still respected as durable examples of Victorian hymnody. Most of his tunes were first published in Chope's Congregational Hymn and Tune Book (1857) and in early editions of the famous British hymnal, Hymns Ancient and Modern.
— Bert Polman
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