Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Psalm 85:8-9 speaks of the Lord's goodness to his people. Yet at the same time it issues a word of caution. God speaks peace to the people, but they are not to "turn back to folly" (ESV). God has drawn near to his people. We see this very clearly in the New Testament accounts of Jesus, and particularly in his baptism. He has associated with us, even though we are sinful people.
It's easy to mistake someone's presence for approval of everything we think, say, or do. This is one of the reasons why I, as a pastor, won't attend some events which I think are strikingly outside of the bounds of historically acceptable practices. Like the early Christians who would distance themselves from sacrifices made to idols, I would choose not to engage in some activities, simply because my attendance or engagement could be seen as a tacit approval.
As God is present with his people in verses 8-9 of Psalm 85, he also warns them to avoid folly. He is not approving of the sins of the people, though he is ready to show care for them.
God's righteous presence in our lives does not approve our sin. It calls us to account for sin, then it points out that, in Christ's vicarious death, our sin has been atoned for. This doesn't give us license to sin. It gives us license to live in the peace that is created by God's faithfulness.
This, not some sort of moral code or set of rules and regulations, is the heart and center of Christianity. It's about trust in God through Christ. It's about living in light of Jesus' forgiving love. He has associated himself with us, so as to change us and to bring us into his grace. This is God's goodness at work.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.