Psalm 85

Psalm 85
Revive us Again.
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

(1) LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
(2) You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin.

(3) You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger.

(4) Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us!
(5) Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
(6) Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
(7) Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.

(8) Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.
(9) Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.

(10) Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
(11) Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky.
(12) Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
(13) Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way.

The NKJV titles Psalm 85: Prayer that the LORD will Restore Favor to the Land. To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

The custom of having choir directors to lead the choirs in hymns of praise and thanksgiving to God 
began long ago in the days of David and Asaph.
Nehemiah 12:46 NLT

Some Bible scholars believe this psalm to be written by David and see the clear saving redemption of Jesus as the theme. Others point to certain words and a belief that they mean the captivity and return from exile in Babylon. But God did not write the author’s name, so good Bible scholars are hesitant to speak with any certainty.

LORD, You have been favorable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob.
You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin.
Psalm 85:1-2 NKJV

LORD, You have been favorable to Your land. The Psalmist calls upon the name of Jehovah (YHWH), the Great I AM. He speaks of God’s promises and faithfulness to “His land.” The entire earth is the Lord’s and all that is it (Psalm 24:1), but He has shown great love for a specific piece of land throughout history, the land of Israel, the Promised Land.

Whether the Psalmist speaks of a literal return of the nation of Israel from captivity or the land itself under rule of the Philistines during David’s time, he is ultimately speaking of God’s mercy and faithfulness to His people. That even though His people have sinned against Him, He is faithful to cover and forgive their unrighteousness.

What a miracle is this! To cover up the sun would be easy work compared with the covering up of sin. Not without a covering atonement is sin removed, but by means of the great sacrifice of our Lord Jesus, it is most effectually put away by one act, forever. What a covering does his blood afford!

Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
You have taken away all Your wrath; You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger.
Psalm 85:3 NKJV

Oh, praise the Lord! His anger and wrath are not something that I want to see, let alone have directed at me. In Old Testament times, the sin offering and rituals around it were very specific. When God’s children sinned, which we all do, they had to confess and follow the procedure. Praise the Lord for the intercession of our Savior.

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: 
"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.
Then I said, 'Here I am--it is written about me in the scroll--
I have come to do your will, my God.'"
Hebrews 10:5-7 NIV

Thank You, Jesus.

Restore us, O God of our salvation, and cause Your anger toward us to cease.
Will You be angry with us forever?
Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?
Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?
Show us Your mercy, LORD, and grant us Your salvation. 
I will hear what God the LORD will speak, for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly.
Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land.
Psalm 85:4-9 NKJV

Here the tone shifts again. The author pleads with God to stay His wrath. But God’s anger is not the problem . . .

It is not that God needs turning from his anger so much as that we need turning from our sin; here is the hinge of the whole matter. Our trials frequently arise out of our sins, they will not go till the sins go.

Charles Spurgeon

Revive us again, Lord, so that we may rejoice in you! A call for revival. Revive Your people, Lord. Revive Your church. Revive the hearts of those who love You. If ever we need that again, it is now. Revive us, Lord.

Will you not revive us again: This is a simple and wonderful prayer for revival. It recognizes that revival is not man-made but given by God. Yet it also recognizes that one may and should pray for revival and pray with godly expectation.

David Guzik, pastor,

I will hear what the Lord will speak. This is great trust in God. The Psalmist called for mercy and faithfulness and then for revival, now he will wait and hear what the Lord has to say. And with surety, the author believes the Lord will speak “peace to His people.” But even though we often wait for the voice of the Lord, for the Father to intervene, for His path to be made clear, we cannot slip back into folly and foolishness.

I will hear what God the LORD will speak: In the last section of this psalm, the psalmist expressed surrender and submission to God. The proper attitude of the believer praying for revival is to surrender to the authority of God’s word.

Pastor David Guzik
Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed.
Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
Yes, the LORD will give what is good; and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway.
Psalm 85:10-13 NKJV

The Psalmist closes Psalm 85 with the utmost trust in the Lord.

Love and faithfulness have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed. NIV

Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! NLT

Lovingkindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. NASB1995

The Hebrew word used here in verse 10 is hesed. The word hesed is found hundreds of times in the Old Testament and is used to express an essential part of God’s character, specifically the way He loves. Hesed is translated as unfailing love, steadfast love, abounding love, loyal love and faithfulness.

The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out,
"Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected--even children in the third and fourth generations."

Moses immediately threw himself to the ground and worshipped.
Exodus 34:6-8 NLT

Love and truth; righteousness and peace. These things are not easily set together. God is Love and Truth.

Even as mercy and truth meet, so righteousness and peace greet each other warmly. It might seem that righteousness would condemn me and prevent God’s shalom (peace) from ever reaching me. In God’s great work of salvation, His righteousness and peace are the best of friends.

Pastor David Guzik

These four attributes are fully reconciled in the person of Jesus Christ: unfailing (hesed) love and truth, righteousness and peace.

. . . God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, for He Himself is fair and just, and He makes sinners right in His sight when they believe in Jesus.
Romans 3:26b

What a beautiful psalm and a beautiful reminder of God’s unfailing love in good times and bad; God is faithful, and God is good.

Father in heaven, thank you for this psalm. Thank you for the reminder of your unfailing/hesed love throughout time and even now. Father, we pray for a revival in your church and with your people. Come, Lord Jesus; come. Amen.

He xoxo

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