Psalm 85 - Overcomer - Prayer for Revival of God's People
I think this is the most beautiful of all the psalms.
These are dark days, but you can bring on a spiritual summertime if you know how to pray. - Charles Spurgeon
recall the past.revivals
are prayer requests for revival
is listening to God
are the glorious and beautiful result of revival
prophesy of Christ's revival-enabling incarnation
The church's problems are:
The church needs:
- rejoicing in the Lord v6
- appreciative seeing of the Lord's mercy v7
- the Lord's speaking v8
- fear of the Lord
- following the Lord's footsteps - v13
-"turned Jacob's captivity" indicates that this psalm was written after the return from Babylon.
The first part of this prayer for revival of God's people is to recall the past. Lord, You've been favorable to Your land in the past, why not now? Did You bring Your people back from captivity for no purpose?
In the past You had John Wesley's preaching, the Welsh revival and Billy Graham's preaching. Why is there nothing today?
The church can fall into captivity of something other than Christ. Examples are teachings and leadership that are not allowed to be questioned. The church in Ephesus left her 1st love (Rev 2:4
). The church in Laodicea was unable to receive constructive criticism (Rev 3:15-20
Revival begins by Christians getting right first and then that spills over into the world. - Charles Spurgeon
- This is to admit that God's people have sinned. But Lord, You bore our iniquity and covered all Your people's sin in the past. Why should our sin today stop You from reviving us as You did in the past?
This verse is followed by the only Selah in the psalm. We need to reflect a lot on this matter that the Lord has borne and God covered our sins. It is easy to say that God does not bless His church because of our sins. We need to go further than that to pray for revival. We need verses 1-2 as a foundation for the rest of this psalm.
- The Lord's fury and fierce anger is eventually experienced by us as suffering that we cannot be joyful about. Many sufferings, such as Fanny Crosby's blindness, can be borne joyfully with the Lord's presence, and are not related to the Lord's anger at all. Others, such as losing our children or church members to the world and sin are sufferings that we cannot be joyful about.
Lord, You were furious with Your people in the past, but You got over it. Why not now, Lord?
- lit. Cease from Your indignation with us
"deliverance" could also be translated as "salvation" throughout (vv4, 7, 9). I chose "deliverance" because the psalm is talking about salvation from temporal suffering and fruitlessness rather than eternal salvation.
were not requests, but recounting the past. Now verses 4-7 are requests based on what God has done in the past.
The 1st request is for God to turn us so that He can be what He is, the God of our deliverance. "Turn us" acknowledges that we need a change of heart and thinking, but it does not say what that needed change might be. This request needs further development, which comes in verses 6-7
The 2nd request is for God to cease from His indignation based on vv1-3
. Today the church is suffering things such as rebellious children, divorce and Christians giving up the assembling of themselves together and partaking of the Lord's table together that may be due to God's indignation or displeasure with us.
- This continues the 2nd request from the end of v4 more specifically. Lord, I can understand Your being angry but for how long? Hasn't this suffering been long enough? What would be the purpose of Your anger to last any longer?
- I titled this psalm from the 1st part of this verse.
This is the 3rd request, and is a further development of the 1st request in v4
for God to turn us. Revive us again. Turn us from death to life, from indifference to care, from selfishness to selflessness, from coldness to love.
The result of this request is that Your people will rejoice in You. We cannot make ourselves or be stirred up by others to rejoice in the Lord. It comes from genuine revival. Once I am enjoying the Lord I want to keep that enjoyment and am conscious of when I have strayed off the path and lose enjoyment. It is easy to stray off the path and to justify it in my reasoning, but the joy does not go along.
- This 4th request further develops the 1st request in v4
for God to turn us. Cause us to see Your mercy. This can happen in 2 ways: By us seeing the Lord's mercies in our current sufferings and by the Lord showing us new mercies. In order to see the Lord's new mercies, we need to see His current ones.The children of Israel suffering in the wilderness did not notice the miracle that their shoes and clothes did not wear out over 40 years (Deut 8:4
This 5th request for God to deliver us is built upon the 1st request for the God of our deliverance to turn us. The result of the God of our deliverance turning us should be that we are in position to be delivered from our suffering and barrenness.
In summary of vv 4-7, there are 5 requests:
2. cease from your indignation v4
4. cause us to see Your mercy v7
5. give us deliverance v7
- lit. What will the LORD God speak?
lit. for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints
God's answer is peace corporately and individually. The suffering may not go away, but there is peace in it. You may not get what you want to happen, but you get peace, which is what you need.
God is speaking the same in the New Testament. For revival there needs to be peace among God's people and in our lives individually.
God speaks peace and also warns not to fall back into folly. We need to be aware of the mistakes we and the church have made so that we don't fall into them again.
- lit. to them that fear Him
Speaking evil of other people lightly, especially of Christians, indicates that we do not fear the Lord.
The result of our deliverance should be glory in the church. This should be the result that we have in view for our prayer requests (Eph 3:21
- lit. mercy and truth met together
These verses describe what glory in the church is like.
Mercy, truth and righteousness are added to the peace in v8
When Godís mercies are coming, their footfalls are our desires to pray. - Charles Spurgeon
Mercy and truth are met together', and if I can think of mercy only at the expense of truth and law, it is not true mercy, it is a false understanding of the term. - Martyn Lloyd-Jones
- My favorite verse in this psalm.
The Lord wants to see truth in human beings. Honesty with mercy is what human beings long for also. This will cause the church to attract people.
For truth to spring up from the earth, we have to live the truth (1John 3:18-19
There is so little truth in the world. Political correctness supresses truthfulness in public.
Honesty is necessary to bear fruit to maturity (Luke 8:15
). The Father is still seeking people who will worship Him in spirit and truthfulness (John 4:23-24
It is wrong to redefine "truth" as something apart from honesty and genuineness or authenticity. "Truth" without the defininite article always includes the meaning of honesty and authenticity.
"The truth" with the definite article means the truth of the Bible (1Tim 3:15
). There are not "high truths" and comparatively "lower truths" in the Bible. "The truth" is always singular in the Bible. It is one unit as a whole.
- lit. Also the LORD gives what's good.
I think the "also" as conjunction rather than the usual preceeding "and's", means "over and above" the previous, hence I added the words "to crown".
Our land yeilding it's increase is for the church to be fruitful.
This goes back to Your land in v1
. The Lord's land is also our land. This would be a good ending to the psalm, but a further crowning word is given in the next verse. Without the next verse there is no way for verses 9-12 to become reality.
- This is a prophecy that the Son of God would become a man making His footsteps on earth a pathway for us to follow.
This is what makes the blessings in vv9-12
-copyright Steve Miller 10/31/2014
for the overcomer,
through the sons of Korah, a psalm
mp3 file from hymnal.net
Favorable, LORD, You had been
unto Your land as all had seen.
You turned Jacob's captivity.
You had borne his i-iniquity.
Your people's sin, You covered all.
(Now think on this says the
You gathered back all Your fury,
You turned Your fierce a-anger from Thee.
Turn us, God of ou-ur deliv'rance.
Cease from Your being indignant.
Fore'er angry will You become?
Will Your wrath last a-all gen'rations?
Won't You again make us living
that Your people rejoice in Thee?
Cause us to see, LORD, Your mercy,
Your deliv'rance to-o us giving.
I am list'ning. What will God speak?
To His people, He will speak peace
and peace unto his saints godly,
but turn not aga-ain to folly.
Surely His deliv'rance is near
to them that do the LORD God fear
that in our land may dwell glory,
mercy and truth i-in harmony.
Righteousness here and peace have kissed.
Truth from the earth upright springeth,
and righteousness from heav'n looked down,
and the LORD gives wha-at's good to crown,
and our land shall yield its increase.
Righteousness goes 'fore Him in peace
and sets His footsteps for a way
for us to walk i-in day by day.
-copyright Steve Miller 10/31/2014
Isaiah 53:4 Surely *he* hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; and we, we did regard him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (Isa 53:4 DBY)
11 He shall see of the fruit of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant instruct many in righteousness; and *he* shall bear their iniquities. (Isa 53:11 DBY)
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.
Heb 9:28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
1Pe 2:24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness by whose stripes you were healed.
Psa 32:1 A Psalm of David, giving understanding. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.
Rom 4:7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; (NKJ)
Pro 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins. (NKJ)
17:9 He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.
;Jam 5:20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
1Pe 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."
Pro 28:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. (NKJ)
Deu 8:4 "Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years.
29:4 Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.
5 "And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet. "
Neh 9:21 Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness, They lacked nothing; Their clothes did not wear out And their feet did not swell.
Rev 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (Rev 2:4-5 KJV)
Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev 3:15-20 KJV)
Luke 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. (Luk 8:15 KJV)
John 4:23 But an hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truthfulness, for the Father also seeks such to worship Him.
24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.
1 Timothy 3:15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
1John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 unto him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever. Amen.