Psalm 85

In the last 12-months, like so many others, we have experienced the deaths of family members, friends and neighbors as well as various injuries and illnesses as well as family members estranged from one another. When we thought we were finally going to get past the dreaded 2020, 2021 didn’t hold back from unleashing some torment of its own!

I was reading in Psalms 85. Many times, when we experience difficulties in our lives, we get caught up or stuck responding to God as the middle of that chapter says, “Will you be angry with us forever?  Will you prolong your anger through all generations? Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” It is easy to slip into a negative spiral from this point. Interestingly, the verses before and after these two say, 4Restore us again, God our Savior,
and put away your displeasure toward us. 7Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation.

This Psalm was written after the Jews came out of Babylon. The Blue Letter Bible helps shed light on the meanings of some of the literary examples and comparisons made in this passage:

“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. And nothing appears to the contrary, but that it might be penned then, as well as Ps. 137. They are the public interests that lie near the psalmist’s heart here, and the psalm is penned for the great congregation. The church was here in a deluge; above were clouds, below were waves; every thing was dark and dismal. The church is like Noah in the ark, between life and death, between hope and fear; being so,

  • I. Here is the dove sent forth in prayer. The petitions are against sin and wrath (v. 4) and for mercy and grace (v. 7). The pleas are taken from former favours (v. 1-3) and present distresses (v. 5, 6).
  • II. Here is the dove returning with an olive branch of peace and good tidings; the psalmist expects her return (v. 8) and then recounts the favours to God’s Israel which by the spirit of prophecy he gave assurance of to others, and by the spirit of faith he took the assurance of to himself (v. 9-13).

In singing this psalm we may be assisted in our prayers to God both for his church in general and for the land of our nativity in particular. The former part will be of use to direct our desires, the latter to encourage our faith and hope in those prayers.”

So, as this once nebulous Covid has now hit much closer to home and we have experienced it’s torment personally, I pray we would always look up and be faithful in our devotion to Christ and seek His righteousness as He provides His direction for our footsteps:

11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
    and righteousness looks down from heaven.
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.

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