Psalm Chapter 85

Psalm Chapter 85, a lament during a time of national humiliation.  (Unless otherwise cited, the scriptural references in these devotionals are from the King James Version of the Bible found on – Public Domain edition.)


The psalmist begins the psalms by acknowledging God’s hand of deliverance over Israel. He revisited the national events when YHWH saved his people from destruction. The nation has sinned. The psalmist details God’s anger against his people and petitions him for the cessation of his rage against his people (verses 1-3). He also asks for the spiritual revival of the nation and for YHWH to be merciful to his people, once again (verses 8-13 and compare Deut. Chapter 30; Hosea 3:4-5). We must know that although YHWH judges us according to our behavior, he is faithful to his promise of unconditional love. 

The connotative implication of this psalm shows that the people are delighted to be back in their homeland after being exiled in Babylon; however, they are disappointed that their home is not as glorious as it was before. Have you ever felt that way after coming out of a serious spiritual battle? Or even a life-threatening illness?

Lord you restored us

1 Lord, thou hast been favorable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.

Longman declares that “By restoring their fortunes, God makes it clear that he has forgiven his people of the sins that led to his anger against them and their subsequent punishment.” There are times when we want YHWH to restore us, but we are not willing to do what it takes to make that happen. It is really quite simple. PRAY!

Whenever Israel was in trouble, God always sent them a human leader to deliver them from the vengeance of God. The tenure of a leader impacts the survival of the people.  Christians have a tenable leader. Jesus Christ. He paid it all for us. Our sins are removed by the blood of the Lamb. We no longer have to celebrate the Day of Atonement, Christ was our atoning sacrifice. The precious blood of the Passover Lamb (Jesus Christ), washed each of us and made us as white as snow. In exchange for our filthy sins, He has clothed us in His Righteousness. Just think about that for a minute. Do I hear a GLORY, someone, anyone?

Where is our former glory, God? Give it back.

Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease. Wilt thou be angry with us forever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? 

Verse 4 indicates that people recognize the mess they have made of their lives. What about us today? What did we say and or did yesterday, actually 5 minutes ago, that was not representative of a blood-washed child of God?  God, you make us different. Make us live through the power of your Holy Spirit, not through the power of our flesh. Please show us today how to live by your might and not by our fleshly desires. Who is the God of salvation? Jesus Christ. We need to keep that in the forefront of our minds. We are blessed in that when we have sinned and we are forgiven God cast those sins far away from him (Psalm 103:11-12).  After sin is forgiven, God will remember it no more. Forgiveness is the most precious gift that we can give to another human being. We have freely received it from Christ. We must do likewise to others. We all come to a point in every situation when we just feel like “enough is enough.” This is where the psalmist is right now.

Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.

Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Salvation is available to whosoever wants it. It is our option to accept or reject, the offer of salvation. Israel had to make that decision. The psalmist knows where the source of salvation abides.

I know that your salvation is near

I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly. Where will he hear this message of salvation?

Prayer is a two-way conversation between God and us. The psalmist knows that.  When we pray, we should be careful to be still, intentionally listen, and allow God to speak to our hearts. God brings salvation, and salvation gives us peace. Having received that glorious peace, we must not return to the lifestyles that we had before Christ. Hebrews chapter 6 tells us what happens when we fall back on what we were before we came to Christ. 

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Salvation is a precious gift that comes to those who have an healthy fear of the 

Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.

 Longman puts the fear of the  Lord into the right perspective for us.

Fear is the proper emotion because it indicates that someone understands their subordinate status before God, and it puts that person in a position of humility, ready to listen and obey God (315).

The return of the glory of the Lord in the future millennial temple is foretold IN SCRIPTURE (in Ezek. 43:1-4; compare Psalms 26:8; 63:2; Isa. 40:3-5; 60:1-3; 62:1-5; see note on Lev. 9:23). Heaven is the Christian’s Promised Land. ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT DAY?

Lord, I am confident that your covenantal promises will never fail.

Longmans states, “The psalmist ends with a powerful reflection on God’s covenant with his people, personifying the is the loyalty that the covenantal king demonstrates to his vassal people” (315). We are God’s vassal people.

10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Mercy and truth are both found in Jesus Christ. Righteousness (our right standing with God), and peace are the gifts the believer receives because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Romans 9:16, “So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.”

Also, James 3:17 declares, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”

11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

That substance is the gospel [the truth about God’s plan for humanity] of Jesus Christ. Can each of us pledge to be living examples of that gospel today and every day? There is nothing more powerful than the freedom one experiences when they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and then share that joy with others.  The old Adam and the desires attached to him slowly ebb away. The new person in Christ begins to see with fresh eyes. They begin to experience the spring of truth that the Holy Spirit has placed in their hearts.  One wants to do something with that knowledge. Sharing that joy is the best release that we can find!

12 Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. 

This construct os God giving the increase is an amazing one. I have learned through my life that giving back at least 10% of what has blessed me with yields more fruit. It is a difficult concept to grasp, but it does work.  When we give to God, as we should, God takes care of all of our needs. Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” My friend Wynette used to call me and say, “EM, she is getting on my nerves again!” Then she would fly into a tirade about someone we both knew who would brag about what they are doing and who they are giving to. It used to take some time to calm her down.  Friends, when we give to others, the Lord blesses us, but when we give to the work of the Lord, the blessings are insurmountable. Give to any ministry that blesses you daily. The amount you provide does not have to be significant. It just needs to be consistent.

13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.

Jesus is Righteousness, Righteousness is his composition. For us to remain his righteous people, we must walk in His Light to stay in that way.

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Our Lord and savior blazed the righteous path before us. He lit the way that we might follow without stumbling and falling.

Prayer, Lord, I humbly come into your presence and ask you to keep my feet on the path of light and Righteousness.  Each time that my thoughts begin to stray, harness them, and bring them back to the path of light and Righteousness. It’s not about me, Lord. It is about who you are in me. It is not about me garnishing a gathering of people who will support my ago, but it is about me spreading your light and truth to the entire world until everyone has heard about the love of God that was shed abroad for all of us. Give me a humble spirit, and a willing heart to continue to spread light and truth throughout the world, Lord. In Jesus’ name.


Longman, Tremper, III. Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary, InterVarsity Press, 2014. Google Books.

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