Psalm 85: Lessons For A Nation’s Spiritual Revival and Restoration

Introduction: This psalm does not identify its exact context. But a reference to the Jews’ return from captivity (Ps. 85:1), suggests that this psalm took place after Persian King Cyrus II freed the Jews from Babylonian captivity in 538 B.C. Some are troubled with this explanation because the remainder of the psalm includes the psalmist’s pleas for God to forgive the Jews and fully restore them. Why would God need to forgive and restore Israel after He had freed the Jews from captivity? This was the exact dilemma that the Jews faced during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. God promised to restore Israel. But Israel remained under Persia’s control, and the temple was in ruins. The promise of Israel’s full restoration remained unfulfilled. Many Jews further gave up on Israel. They chose to remain in foreign lands. From the psalmist’s prayer, the Bible reveals seven critical components for a national’s spiritual revival. These include: (1) faith, (2) repentance, (3) prayer, (4) hope, (5) submission, (6) gratitude, and (7) obedience.

First, before stating his petition, the psalmist credited God with freeing the Jews. God fulfilled His promises to free the Jews. Revival must begin with faith in God’s promises. Second, the psalmist praised God for forgiving His people. If God’s people will turn to Him and repent, He is faithful to forgive them. Third, the psalmist cried out for God to restore and revive His people. A national revival also requires fervent, intercessory prayer. Fourth, the psalmist then again prayed for God’s mercy and His salvation. This pointed to the promise of salvation through the Messiah. Jesus is our Messiah. He is merciful, and He offers all a path to salvation for all who believe in Him. Thus, you can put your hope in Him. Fifth, the psalmist proclaimed that he would “hear” God’s Word, which offers the path to peace. This implied that he would submit to God to find the path leading to peace. Believers must also submit to the Holy Spirit when He speaks to them when they pray and read the Word. This leads to the path of peace. Sixth, the psalmist extolled God’s goodness and His bountiful provision. A nation’s spiritual revival also requires gratitude. Finally, the psalmist revealed that the Messiah would set a pathway of righteousness. For a spiritual revival to succeed it requires Spirit-led obedience to Jesus.

1. Faith: National Renewal Begins With Faith in God’s Promises. Ps. 85:1.

  • God was faithful to fulfill His promise to release the Jews from Babylonian captivity. God was forced to discipline the Jews for their rebellions by sending them into foreign captivity. But He was faithful to keep His promises to eventually free the Jews from their bondage. “For the music director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. 1Lord, You showed favor to Your land; You restored the fortunes of Jacob.” (Ps. 85:1). In the King James and New King James Versions, the second half of this verse is better translated as “You have brought back the captivity of Jacob.” “Interpreters are generally of the opinion that this psalm was penned after the return of the Jews out of their captivity in Babylon, when they still remained under some tokens of God’s displeasure, which they here pray for the removal of.” (Matthew Henry on Ps. 85).1 According to Marvin Tate and Craig Broyles, the cries later in this psalm for God to finish what He started are consistent with Ezra and Nehemiah’s calls for the Jews to repent and turn back to God. This in turn would allow God to finish His restoration of Israel, beginning with the temple. (Tate, Marvin, E. Psalms 51-100. Waco: World, 1990, pgs. 367-8). (Broyles, Craig C., Psalms. New International Commentary, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1999, p. 344).

  • God disciplines those whom He loves. God repeatedly warns that He will discipline sin. But He does so out of love the way a parent disciplines a child (Heb. 12:7). His goal is to change the behavior of the sinner and restore true fellowship: “So you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.” (Dt. 8:5). “With rebukes You punish a person for wrongdoing; You consume like a moth what is precious to him; certainly all mankind is mere breath! Selah” (Ps. 39:11). “For whom the LORD loves He disciplines, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.” (Prov. 3:12). “For whom the Lord Loves He disciplines, and He punishes every son whom He accepts.” (Heb. 12:6). “But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.” (1 Cor. 11:32). “Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.” (Rev. 3:19). If you have been disciplined, take solace that God does so out of love for you.

  • God promised to free the Jews centuries earlier. Before the Jews ever entered the Promised Land, God warned that He would send the Jews into foreign captivity if they rejected His law: “Furthermore, the LORD will scatter you among all the peoples, from one end of the earth to the other; and there you will serve other gods, made of wood and stone, which you and your fathers have not known.” (Dt. 28:64). But He also promised to free the Jews: “then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.” (Dt. 30:3). He later used the prophet Jeremiah to repeat His promise to free His people (Jer. 25:8-13). “Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of His people, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad.” (Ps. 14:7). “A Song of Ascents. When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion, we were like those who dream.” (Ps. 126:1).

  • God used a Persian king to fulfill His promises to free the Jews from foreign captivity. During his first year of rule and shortly after defeating the Babylonians, God stirred up King Cyrus II’s heart to issue a decree to release the Jews from captivity: “1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying:” (Ezra 1:1). In 538 B.C., Cyrus II issued this decree (Ezra 1:1-2; 5:13-17). Even though the Jews had not earned the right to be freed, God did this to fulfill His promises through Jeremiah. Cyrus II’s decree is also recorded in Chronicles (2 Chr. 36:22-23). It is further recorded in ancient Persian records. Thus, even skeptics accept this as historical.

  • God’s fulfillment of His promises through Jeremiah of 70 years of captivity. God stirred up Cyrus II’s heart “in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, (Ezra 1:1). Before the Babylonians had captured Judah and began its waves of deportations, the prophet Jeremiah warned the Jews both of their future defeat and that they would spend 70 years in captivity (Jer. 25:8-13). As the 70-year period came to a close, the prophet Daniel read God’s promises to Jeremiah and prayed a prayer of repentance. He then prayed for God to fulfill His Word (Dan. 9:1-27). God heard Daniel’s prayers, and He was faithful to fulfill this promise to free His people.

  • God’s fulfillment of His promises to restore the Jews to Israel. In addition to promising to free the Jews, God also promised through Jeremiah to restore those who sought Him out and return them to the Promised Land (Jer. 29:10-14). God also fulfilled this promise. But only a remnant availed themselves of God’s promise.

  • God’s fulfillment of His promises through Isaiah to use Cyrus II as His instrument. In addition to telling the Jews exactly how long they would spend in captivity, God also told the Jews the name of the pagan ruler that He would use to free them. The prophet Isaiah foretold of King Cyrus II of Persia’s future victory over Babylon approximately 150 years before he was even born: “Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed, whom I have taken by the right hand, to subdue nations before him and to loose the loins of kings; to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut” (Is. 45:1; 44:28-45:4).

  • God was faithful not to forsake the Jews. God promised that He will never forget His Covenant with His people: “For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.” (Dt. 4:31). He also would not forsake the Jews when He disciplined them: “Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God. But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the LORD.” (Lev. 26:44-45). “Be strong and courageous, . . . He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Dt. 31:6). God will also never leave or forsake you (Heb. 13:5). Even when God disciplines you, never lose hope or feel that He has abandoned you.

  • God freed His people out of love for them. When Ezra later came to the Promised Land, he revealed that God freed the Jews out of a deep love for them. “For we are slaves; yet in our bondage our God has not forsaken us, but has extended lovingkindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us reviving to raise up the house of our God, to restore its ruins and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.” (Ezra 9:9; Ps. 106:46). He promises to restore His people if they repent of their sins (2 Chr. 7:14). He also loves you and is eager to restore you when you turn back to Him.

  • God’s Word is true and is always fulfilled. In their time of darkness, the prophet Jeremiah encouraged the people that God could not break His promises (Jer. 33:20-21; 2 Chr. 21:7). Throughout the Bible, God reveals that His Word is true and always comes to pass: “Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” (Josh. 21:45). “Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.” (1 Kgs. 8:56). “I declared the former things long ago and they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.” (Is. 48:3; 42:9). No other holy book can make similar claims of fulfilled prophecy as the Bible does. God’s Word is true and always comes true.

  • You also can trust in His promises to you. The accuracy of God’s promises in the Old Testament show how you can also trust His New Testament promises for you as well. “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (1 Thess. 5:24). “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;” (Dt. 7:9; 1 Cor. 1:9). He is faithful even when you are not (2 Tim. 2:13). For a nation’s revival to succeed, it begins with faith in God’s many promises.

2. Repentance: God Promises to Forgive a Nation When it Repents. Ps. 85:2-3.

  • God was faithful to forgive His people. The psalmist praised God for having forgiven His people. He spared them from the destruction that they deserved under His law: “You forgave the guilt of Your people; You covered all their sin. Selah You withdrew all Your fury; You turned away from Your burning anger.” (Ps. 85:2-3). The Jews had repeatedly rebelled against God. No other nation has been deported twice and survived as a nation. Israel’s continued existence is a miracle and proof of God’s divine mercy.

  • Repent and cry out for Jesus’ mercy when you sin. As our example, David always repented of his sins and cried out for God’s mercy when he sinned (Ps. 6:1). “Hear, LORD, when I cry with my voice, and be gracious to me and answer me. . . Do not hide Your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; do not abandon me nor forsake me, God of my salvation!” (Ps. 27:7, 9). “Hear, LORD, and be gracious to me; LORD, be my helper.” (Ps. 30:10). God wants you to follow this example. When you sin, God wants you to call out to Him to receive His mercy.

  • Repent of your sins each day, and Jesus will forgive you. On many other occasions, David also freely and repeatedly confessed his sins to God: “I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not hide my guilt; I said, ‘I will confess my wrongdoings to the LORD’; and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah” (Ps. 32:5). “For I admit my guilt; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.” (Ps. 38:18). “Wash me thoroughly from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.” (Ps. 51:2). When you confess your sins, Jesus will forgive you: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). Every person has sins to confess. And most people sin each day. Are you confessing your sins to Jesus?

  • God can also renew any nation when it repents and returns to Him. God can also heal a nation when it repents and turns to Him: “and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chr. 7:14).

  • Pray as an intercessor for God to forgive the sins of your nation. To encourage believers, the Bible is filled with examples where people prayed as intercessors for God’s people: “Please forgive the guilt of this people in accordance with the greatness of Your mercy, just as You also have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” (Nu. 14:19). “And listen to the plea of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place; hear in heaven Your dwelling place; hear and forgive!” (1 Kgs. 8:30). “Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts, let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; for because of our sins and the wrongdoings of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people have become an object of taunting to all those around us.” (Dan. 9:16). Are you praying for your nation to repent?

  • Give thanks that God is merciful. God is filled with mercy each time you repent and return to Him: The Lords acts of mercy indeed do not end, for His compassions do not fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:22-23). “Then you will say on that day, “I will give thanks to You, LORD; for although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.” (Is. 12:1). “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you.” (Is. 54:7). He is merciful in the face of our sins because he is filled with compassion and love: “For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not abandon you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.” (Dt. 4:31). “But He, being compassionate, forgave their wrongdoing and did not destroy them; and often He restrained His anger and did not stir up all His wrath.” (Ps. 78:38). “LORD our God, You answered them; You were a forgiving God to them, and yet an avenger of their evil deeds.” (Ps. 99:8). God loves you and does not want you to suffer from your sins. Thus, He deserves your praise.

  • You can trust God’s promises of mercy. David stated that God’s faithfulness reaches to the skies.” (Ps. 36:5). “A Maskil. How blessed is he whose wrongdoing is forgiven, whose sin is covered!” (Ps. 32:1). “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him.” (Ps. 103:11). “For His mercy toward us is great, and the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the LORD!” (Ps. 117:2). “For Your goodness is great to the heavens and Your truth to the clouds.” (Ps. 57:10). You can give thanks that His mercy knows no bounds. “Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Ro. 1:33). The enemy will put thoughts in your head that your sins are too big to be forgiven. But God is faithful to keep His promises of mercy and forgiveness.

3. Prayer: A National Revival Requires Fervent, Intercessory Prayer. Ps. 85:4-6.

  • God wants you to put your hope in Him for your full revival. Because Israel had not been restored to its former glory, the psalmist prayed for God to fully restore the nation: “Restore us, God of our salvation, and cause Your indignation 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, so that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Ps. 85:4-6). “This suits well the first period after the return from the Captivity, when the depressed condition of Israel continued for several generations.” (Pulpit Commentary on Ps. 85:5).2

  • Turn to God for your nation’s revival. The psalmist cried out “Restore us,” (Ps. 85:4). Similar cries exist throughout the psalms: “God, restore us and make Your face shine upon us, and we will be saved. . . God of armies, restore us and make Your face shine upon us, and we will be saved.” (Ps. 80:3, 7). When a nation has suffered, believers are called upon to put their hope in God and pray for His restoration.

  • Pray as an intercessor for God to start a revival. One commentator observes from the psalmist’s prayer that it is God and not man who is responsible for a nation’s revival. “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. This prayer for revival . . . The context tells us when to pray for revival. · We should pray for revival when we remember the great things God has done in the past (as in Psalm 85:1-3). · We should pray for revival when we sense we are under a cloud of divine displeasure or an evident lack of blessing (as in Psalm 85:4-5). The context tells us who to pray for. · In praying for revival, pray for the pastor . . . · In praying for revival, pray for the congregation. Pray for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the congregation, not only on the preacher. · In praying for revival, pray for other churches in your community. · In praying for revival, pray for the community in general, that Jesus would answer the promise of John 16:7-8, sending the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin.” (David Guzik on Ps. 85) (italics original).3

Hilldale's Worship Ministry: 150 Days of Psalms - Psalm 85

Ask God to revive your heart and the hearts of your nation4

  • Be patient for God’s timing. The psalmist lamented: “Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?” (Ps. 85:5). Similar laments exist throughout the psalms: “A Maskil of Asaph. God, why have You rejected us forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?” (Ps. 74:1). “Will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favorable again?” (Ps. 77:7). “How long, LORD? Will You be angry forever? Will Your jealousy burn like fire?” (Ps. 79:5). God will be faithful to keep His promises. But He acts in His perfect timing. Believers are called upon to be patient and keep their hope in God as they wait.

4. Hope: A National Revival Requires Hope in Jesus’ Salvation. Ps. 85:7.

  • God’s offer of restoration includes the hope of salvation through Jesus. The psalmist called upon God to grant the Jews restoration. This included salvation through God’s promised Messiah: “Show us Your mercy, Lord, and grant us Your salvation.” (Ps. 85:7). “Namely, that complete salvation and deliverance for which all the Israel of God do pray and wait; even the redemption of Israel by the Messiah; of which not only Christian but Jewish writers understand this passage, and to which the following verses do most properly and perfectly belong. And the psalmist might well say of this salvation, that it was nigh, because the seventy weeks of years, the four hundred and ninety years, determined by Daniel for this work, Daniel 9:24, were now begun, this Psalm being written after Daniel’s time.” (Benson Commentary on Ps. 85:7).5

Psalms 85:7 – Verse Images

Put your hope in Jesus for your salvation6

  • Give thanks that God is long suffering. The psalmist cried out “Show us Your mercy,” (Ps. 85:7). Throughout the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, God showed His people that they remained in spiritual bondage. God did not fully restore the Jews at one time because they had not fully turned back to Him. Believers can give thanks that God is slow to anger and quick to forgive: “Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in faithfulness and truth;” (Ex. 34:6). “The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in mercy, forgiving wrongdoing and violation of His Law; . . .” (Nu. 14:18). Thankfully, God’s mercy is not a one-time-event. Any honest believer will acknowledge that they have lapsed back into sin after promising to never do that again. God deserves your praise because His mercy and forgiveness is ongoing when you sin.

  • God is patient and long-suffering with mankind. God could have written off the Jews after they failed to fully turn back to Him. But He is filled with mercy. He also won’t condemn because of the many times that you will backslide during your lifetime. He does not want any to perish: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9). Peter denied Jesus three times during a crisis in his faith (Matt. 26:57-75; 27:1; Mk. 14:53-72; 15:1; Lk. 22:54-71; Jo. 18:13-27). God saw Peter not as the sinner that he was but as the hero of the faith that he would become. God is also patient with you and sees you as the person of faith that you will become through your trials. This is one of the many reasons to praise God. He is patient and long-suffering.

  • Jesus loves you and died so that He could dwell in eternal fellowship with you. Out of love for mankind, Jesus first came and dwelled with us as a human. The glory of God was also revealed through Him: “And the Word became flesh . . . and we saw His glory, glory as the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jo. 1:14). But many could not comprehend His light because they loved evil (Jo. 3:19). Only those with faith could see that Jesus was and is the true light of the world (Jo. 8:12) He then died at the cross so that any who believe could live: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jo. 3:16). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Ro. 5:8). “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” (Ro. 4:25).

  • Put your hope in Jesus for your restoration and salvation. God repeatedly showed that the Jews could place their hope in Him for their restoration and salvation. During the first exodus, God not only blessed the Jews financially, He restored them by making the Egyptians both fear and respect them (Ex. 11:3). This was the fulfillment of God’s promises to Moses (Ex. 3:21(a)). God was also faithful to His people while they were in Babylonian captivity: “He also made them objects of compassion in the presence of all their captors.” (Ps. 106:46). Jesus also promises to restore what you have lost to serve Him. He will make you a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17; Ro. 6:4). It is also in Him that we “have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.”  (Heb. 6:18).  When you are tossed about in the storms of life, He is the anchor of hope for your soul: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and reliable and one which enters within the veil,” (Heb. 6:19). “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.” (Ps. 39:7). “For You are my hope; Lord GOD, You are my confidence from my youth.” (Ps. 71:5). “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,” (Ps. 146:5). Jesus wants you to place your hope in Him alone for your salvation.

5. Submission: A Nation’s Revival Requires Submission to the Word. Ps. 85:8-9.

  • God’s restoration requires believers’ submission to God’s Word. The psalmist declared that he would “hear” God’s Word. Submitting to God’s Word would in turn lead to God’s path of peace: “8 I will hear what God the Lord will say; for He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; and may they not turn back to foolishness. Certainly His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land.” (Ps. 85:8-9). The reference to salvation again pointed to the promise of peace through the Messiah: “He that will not hear the gospel of peace, shall never know the peace of the gospel. If you will not hear the Holy Spirit when he warns you of your sin, neither shall you hear him revealing peace through pardon.” (Charles Spurgeon on Ps. 85).7

  • Listen and submit to Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Jesus is the Messiah who offers the promise of a future peace that will never end: “And He will judge between the nations, and will mediate for many peoples; and they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning knives. Nation will not lift up a sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.” (Is. 2:4). “For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; . . . Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6). He is also the King of Peace (Heb. 7:1-3). “ . . . the LORD will bless His people with peace.” (Ps. 29:11). He again deserves your praise for offering to share His peace with you. “For as the earth produces its sprouts, and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.” (Is. 61:11). He again deserves your praise for offering you His everlasting peace. Are you reading His Word to find His peace?

  • Listen to Jesus’ Word and submit to it to restore your lost peace.  Jesus offers a peace that is not like the peace that the world offers:  “Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.”  (Jo. 14:27).  He instead promises something better.  He promises peace that surpasses worldly understanding: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Phil. 4:7).  Is your happiness tied to your wealth and status?  If so, your peace is only temporary.  It will likely disappear in the next crisis.

psalm 85 kjv - MathenRovia

God’s promise of restoration includes peace through Jesus Christ8

6. Gratitude: Revival Also Requires Gratitude for Jesus’ Blessings. Ps. 85:10-12.

  • Be grateful for Jesus’ mercy, righteousness, grace, truth, peace, and His provision. The psalmist declared that the promised Messiah was a union of all that is good. Through the Messiah, God also offered abundant life. The psalmist praised God out of gratitude: “10 Graciousness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 11 Truth sprouts from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. 12 Indeed, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its produce.” (Ps. 85:10-12). “God’s promises of ‘mercy’ will be verified by His ‘truth’ (compare Ps 25:10; 40:10); and the ‘work of righteousness’ in His holy government shall be ‘peace’ (Isa 32:17). There is an implied contrast with a dispensation under which God’s truth sustains His threatened wrath, and His righteousness inflicts misery on the wicked.” (Jamieson-Fauset-Brown Bible Commentary on Ps. 85:10).9

Psalms 85:12 | Psalms, Shadow of the almighty, Book of psalms

Give thanks for God many blessings and provision in your life10

  • Jesus offers the union of mercy, grace, righteousness, and peace. Through the Messiah, the psalmist promised that all that is good would come together as one. “10 Graciousness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Ps. 86:10). This psalm “declares that, for God’s full salvation to come, loyal love and truth must be joined, and righteousness and peace must harmonize. The apostles explain that in God’s provision for salvation and the forgiveness of sins – that is, in Christ Jesus – righteousness and truth are satisfied by His redeeming love. Consequently, heaven and earth will be in harmony once again.” (Allen Ross, A Commentary of the Psalms: Volume 2 (42-89), Kregel Academic (2013) p. 779-80) (italics original). “Paul later expressed this idea in Romans 3:26That He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. At the cross, God demonstrated His righteousness by offering man justification (a legal verdict of “not guilty”), while remaining completely just (because the righteous penalty of sin had been paid at the cross). God could be only just, and simply send every guilty sinner to hell, as a just judge would do. Only God could find a way to be both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (David Guzik on Psalm 85) (italics original).11

  • Jesus offers abundant life. The psalmist declared “the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its produce.” (Ps. 85:12). God promised to bless His people with abundant provision if they trusted Him: “then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.” (Lev. 26:4). “that He will provide rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, so that you may gather your grain, your new wine, and your oil.” (Dt. 11:14). “The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless every work of your hand; and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow.” (Dt. 28:12). Jesus also offers abundant life: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jo. 10:10).

  • Be grateful for all that Jesus offers you. As an example to you, many of David’s psalms or Solomon’s proverbs contain gratitude to God for His deliverance:  “A Psalm; a Song at the Dedication of the House.  A Psalm of David.  I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.”  (Ps. 30:1).  “A Psalm of David.  The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?”  (Ps. 27:1). “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”  (Ps. 23:4).  “Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wonders.” (Ps. 105:2). “My lovingkindness and my fortress, My stronghold and my deliverer, My shield and He in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me.”  (Ps. 144:2).  “But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.”  (Ps. 3:3).  “On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.”  (Ps. 62:7). “The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble;” (Ps. 9:9).  “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” (Prov. 18:10).  If you feel under attack, give thanks for God’s deliverance.

7. Obedience: Revival Requires the Spirit-Led Fruit of Obedience. Ps. 85:13.

  • Through Jesus, God offers a narrow pathway that a nation must obey and follow. The psalmist declared that the Messiah’s righteousness offered the path for God’s people to find and maintain their spiritual revival: “13 Righteousness will go before Him and will make His footsteps into a way.” (Ps. 85:13). “The personified characteristic of the Lord – that He is altogether just, true, accurate, and right – is depicted as walking before Yahweh Himself, and the footsteps of righteousness become the way in which Yahweh follows after, the way also in which His people are to walk.” (James M. Hamilton Jr., Evangelical Bible Theology Commentary Psalms (Vol. II: Psalms 73-150) (Lexham Academic 2021) p. 111) (italics original). “God’s march…will leave a track wherein his people will joyfully follow.” (Charles Spurgeon on Ps. 85).12

Psalm 85:13

Stay obedient and fixed on God’s path to maintain your revival13

  • Jesus offers a narrow path for His people to follow. David declared that God provides the path of life: “You will make known to me the way of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Ps. 16:11). Isaiah called this the “Highway of Holiness: “A highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for the one who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it.” (Is. 38:5). Jesus reveals that it is His path. It is narrow, and few are willing to travel down it. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is narrow and the way is constricted that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt. 7:13-14). For a nation to find and maintain the path of God’s restoration, it must obey Jesus and stay on His narrow path.

  • Without Spirit-led obedience, a nation’s revival will falter. Jesus said, if you love Him, you will keep His commandments: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (Jo. 14:15, 21; 15:10; 1 Jo. 5:3; 2 Jo. 1:6). His “disciples” were the “disciplined ones” in keeping His commandments.  As bondservants or freed slaves, they were obedient out of love, not obligation.  Whether you follow the law out of love instead of obligation is a test for whether you really know God:  “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”  (1 Jo. 2:3). “[W]hat matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.”  (1 Cor. 7:19). But obedience that is not Spirit-led will fail. People will grow tired of obeying, and they will return to their sins. Thus, for a revival to succeed, believers must pray for the Spirit to transform the nation to want to obey God.

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