Return and Revive

Psalm 85  A Psalm by the sons of Korah

Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.

Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.

Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.

It is commonly thought that this song was written after the people returned from captivity in Babylon. The wording seems to indicate that the people are back in the land. It is a time of rejoicing but also of questioning. The writer thanks God for being favorable to the people.  He acknowledges that God has forgiven their iniquity and has covered their sin. What a wonderful place to be. To know that God has forgiven us and covered our sin. If we are in Christ this statement is true. It’s a great feeling to know that your sins are forgiven and they’re covered by the blood of the Lamb. I remember the day so vividly when I accepted Christ as Savior. I had a physical experience! I broke into a cold sweat from the inside out as I prayed the sinner’s prayer in my friends trailer home. When I got done praying, I was soaking wet.  I knew that God had done something in me. It’s amazing how God can come in and change your soul just like that. I am so glad that he forgave me and covered my sins.

 The writer then says that God has taken away all of His wrath and that His anger is gone. Obviously the Jews thought that the reason they were taken into captivity was because God was mad with them. I would feel the same way if I was them. Sometimes I wonder when I get into a trial that has no explanation if God is mad at me!  I really don’t believe that God gets angry or mad with us. I think He might get disappointed once in a while. He will allow things into our lives to correct a bad behavior because He loves us, not because He’s angry with us. In Old Testament times it was common to think that God was angry. But I think now we we walk in His mercy and grace, and when trials come they are usually a labor of love on His part. God just wants to see if we still love Him.  He’s not angry with us. He loves us

Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.

Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?

Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?

Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.

We saw these words not too long ago – the writer asks God to turn them. So often we need to turn around to get the blessing of God. I need to make sure I’m facing Him instead of walking away. Sometimes God needs to turn us by getting our attention. I remember my kids when they were little. I could speak to them in my regular voice  and they would hardly hear me.  So, I would have to raise my voice a considerable amount in order to make sure they heard me.  When I did that they would turn and look at me and say “Okay Dad” or they go running to their room crying because I hurt their feelings. They always thought I was mad at them, but I wasn’t really mad.

 Then the writer asks God if He will revive the people so that they might rejoice. This is an interesting thought.  A lot of times we try to revive ourselves. We look for revival in different ways hoping that the spirit of God will move us to a greater height in our worship and our praise and our desire to serve him. But here they asked God to revive them. Maybe this is what we should be praying for – that God would revive us. Next the writer asks God to show them His mercy.  Please grant us your salvation!  We need the same things today so that we can be revived in the land and bring God’s message of joy and rejoicing to a lost and dying world. Oh how we need a revival in our land, I think now more than ever before

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.

Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.

10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Are you ready to hear what God has to say? Are your ears open and do you take time to listen during your prayer time? Do you stay still long enough to hear His still small voice speaking to you? It’s so important that we hear what the Lord says. Here the writer says that He will speak peace. They have been in captivity for a long time and peace is what they need. What do you need in your life today. Allow God to speak it to you.

 There’s no doubt that salvation is near those people who fear Him. It’s near those people that have a reverence for God. We need His glory to dwell in our land and the only way that it can is through us. If we are not displaying his glory, if we have turned again to folly, then how are other people going to see God? It is up to us just show them what God is like and what God can do for them. We have to do everything we can to be above reproach so that God will be glorified in the land.
Mercy and Truth are met together. These two attributes are linked together over and over again in the psalms and in the proverbs. It is so important that we keep them together. I believe in today’s society we have leaned way too far to the side of mercy and are leaving truth behind. There is no doubt that God is very merciful and gracious God, but He is also a God of judgement and He’s a God of Truth. And He will proclaim judgement if I’m not living according to His word. That’s the truth that is missing. Make sure that your preaching includes mercy and truth. He also says righteousness and peace are coupled together. How can we have peace if we’re not living a righteous life? It’s so important that we live according to God’s plan and doing what is right. That will give us peace

11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

12 Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.

13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.

The author looks again to truth and righteousness coming down.  He knows that if these things are evident that the Lord will give what is good, and the land will once again yield her increase. Remember this psalm was written when they returned from captivity. The land may have been desolate if nobody had taken care of it for the 70 years they were in Babylon. Now they had to rework the land and plant the crops once again. But they believed that the land would yield increase if truth and righteousness prevailed among the people. I believe that if we walk in righteousness, we will yield souls unto the Kingdom of God. That is our mission. Save the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s be about doing what is right!  Preaching the truth in love and spreading peace and mercy throughout the land ao that God may be glorified

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