We are halfway through our online study together this summer. I pray you are loving this in-depth look into the Psalms!
This week’s focus is Psalm 85 – a Psalm of revival!
Revival – what is it?
In our study, A 30-Day Walk with God in the Psalms, Nancy Leigh DeMoss defines revive this way: to live anew; to recover; to be well; to make alive, enliven, animate, quicken; to refresh; to rebuild.
In essence, spiritual revival is recovering, restoring, or rebuilding your declining relationship with God to a fervent, vital, and enlivened relationship with Him. It’s like a remodel on a house. The house is there but is dated, old, or deteriorating. You bring contractors in, spend some money, and make your house alive and like new again. With spiritual revival, though, you don’t need contractors or money. What you need is for God, through the Holy Spirit, to get your attention, cause you to slowdown, see the depth of your sin, seek His face, and repent. In doing this, He lifts and repairs your countenance inwardly and the result is seen outwardly by the way you look, act, and respond.
Take a moment to read Psalm 85 aloud if possible. As you read from your Bible, circle every reference (including pronouns) to the Lord or God. How many did you find?
In the 13 verses I found 27 references to the Lord. 27! Do you know what that tells me? It tells me that this Psalm is all about the Lord and what He has done, is doing, and will do. Revival is a work of God, not man. It can only be accomplished because of the faithfulness of God, the sovereignty of God, and the certainty of God. Hang with me and I’ll show you what I mean.
In verses 1-3 the Psalmist reminds the Lord of what He has done in the past.
Now for the normal, everyday person this may not mean much. But for the LORD (Jehovah) that means everything! Jehovah is the covenant name of God- The God who made a solemn promise to care for, tend to, nurture, and cultivate His people. Because God is in a covenant relationship with us, He will always be in a covenant relationship with us. He is Faithful!
Look at all of the things the Lord (Jehovah) did for His people (and is still doing).
He was favorable. He restored, forgave, covered sin, withdrew wrath, and turned from hot anger. The Lord did these things for the people of Israel and He has done it for us through the saving work of Jesus Christ, His Son, on the Cross.
So verse 4 says, “Restore us again!” In other words, “You’ve done it before; so do it again! Do what you do, Lord. Please show us your faithfulness!”
- In what circumstances of your life have you seen God’s faithfulness?
Verses 5-7 show us the sovereign grace of God to bring about revival. (Sovereign means that God is independent of anyone else. He is self-governing. He is the supreme ruler. Grace refers to God’s favor, mercy, and pardon.)
The Psalmists says, “Will you, will you, will you…” “Will you be angry forever?”
“Will YOU not revive us again?” “Show us your steadfast love and grant us salvation.”
We cannot revive ourselves. Revival is a work of the Spirit based on our response to His work in our lives. We come with heavy hearts, full of sin, seeking God. And God, in His grace and mercy, revives us.
- How would you explain the sovereign grace of God to someone?
Verse 8 says, “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints, but let them not turn back to folly.”
First of all, let’s camp on the word “hear.” How do you truly listen to God? How can you hear peace when He speaks it?
First and foremost we must to be quiet! You cannot hear someone else speak if you are always talking. We must come before the Lord with our two ears open and our one mouth shut!
The phrase at the end of verse 8, “…but let them not turn back to folly,” reminds us that to repent means to turn away from. It isn’t admitting a sin and then continuing to do it; it’s not continuing in the same direction.
- What are some things that hinder you from hearing the Lord speak?
- What folly (sin) do you keep turning back to?
In verses 9-13, I was reminded of the certainty of God. Verse 9 begins with the word, “surely.” There is confidence in this expression – trust, assurance, belief. “Surely his salvation is near…” Without a doubt, it’s coming. Because of God’s faithfulness in the past and His sovereign grace, I can be confident that my salvation is coming.
Verse 10 references the steadfast love, faithfulness, righteousness, and peace that came to us when Jesus went to the cross for our sins. His love, His promise, and His holiness came together at the cross when nails bore into the Almighty’s hand. And the result was peace with God forever.
Does this cause you to want to turn from your folly, seek the face of God, and be revived today? What joy comes from knowing the faithfulness, love, and grace of God in our lives!
Revival is a process. It is a work of the Spirit accomplished in a heart that is sensitive toward the Spirit, praying unto the Spirit, and seeking the heart of God.
How would you describe your spiritual “house” right now? Is it alive and new with no need of repair? Is it shabby and broken down, in need of being rebuilt? Is it somewhere in the middle?
May our prayer continually be…
Next week’s assignment is Psalm 130 & 143 (Focus Psalm is 143)