Psalm 85 has the people seeking God’s restoration. They’ve been under captivity of the Babylonians and Persians and are looking to get right with God. They know He has historically taken care of His people, and they long for Him to continue to do that now. “Lord, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob”. This is a prayer to seek God’s favor. They want Him to bring them back into right standing with Himself. It is painful to be separated from God.
For that to happen, they need to be forgiven. God is a God who forgives, once the people confess, repent and move toward Him in restoration. They know it has happened in the past. “You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger”. Sin separates us from God. It did then, it still does today. We have to learn how to get right with God which means we must take action to remove sin. We have to fix it. That’s why Jesus came. He is our way to recover from our sin problem.
This chapter has the psalmist talking about restoring, turning or reviving his people over and over:
- “you restored the fortunes” (vs 1)
- “you turned from your hot anger” (vs 3)
- “restore us again” (vs 4)
- “revive us again” (vs 6)
- “let them not turn back” (vs 8)
Each time the turning is a bit different, but it certainly does indicate that life is full of change, and often that change is regarding our relationship with God. The one constant is that the change is on our part, not His. Scripture is clear that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. So if there is change needed, it will be on our part, which is where the process of confession, repentance and restoration comes into reality.
The psalmist calls on God to restore His people and grant them the goodness they have experienced in the past. He prays that “glory may dwell in our land. Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase”. That’s the outcome of a right relationship with God. He gives us what is good. Our land produces yield. We are blessed indeed by His hand when we walk uprightly with Him!