PREPARING FOR GOD TO WORK
Thank You, God, for being so good to me!
Read Psalm 85
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.
1 You, Lord, showed favor to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.[b]
3 You set aside all your wrath
and turned from your fierce anger.
4 Restore us again, God our Savior,
and put away your displeasure toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
8 I will listen to what God the Lord says;
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
but let them not turn to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.
10 Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.a
12 The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.
a Psalm 85:1 In Hebrew texts 85:1-13 is numbered 85:2-14.
b Psalm 85:2 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectRecall a time when you experienced God’s goodness.
Once upon a time all was well. That’s the gist of verses 1–3. In particular, God was generous to His people, forgiving their sins. But the psalmist speaks from a different place – probably a time of loss in Israel’s life, perhaps when they were in exile. Hence the prayer “Restore us again” (4). Return us to what we once experienced. It is a prayer for reconnection with God.
The key insight of the psalm is that the current sense of distance from God is not because God is unfaithful. No, He promises peace (8). But something has separated God’s people from the source of their joy (5, 6). The psalm ends with four verses celebrating God’s gifts of faithfulness and righteousness (10–13). So the response to feeling distant from God is not to doubt His goodness, but to long to experience it.
Note the combination of honest assessment of problems along with confidence that God is good. This is typical of how the Psalms shape our hearts’ desires, as we seek to “listen to what God the Lord says” (8). The psalm ends with rich, heart-warming imagery and life-giving verbs: kiss, spring, yield… It is a psalm for our emotions as well as our understanding.
As you go through the day, look out for signs of God’s goodness in your personal life. Give thanks for them as you go.
Lord, may Your righteousness and faithfulness surround me every step of my way.