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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

August 16 2023

Today, Wednesday August 16

A New Beginning

Psalm 85:1-7

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

“Lord, You have been favorable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob. You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. Selah

You have taken away all Your wrath; You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger. Restore us, O God of our salvation, And cause Your anger toward us to cease. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? Will You not revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your mercy, LORD, And grant us Your salvation.”

Psalm 85 is a song about new beginnings. The inscription indicates that it is connected to the “sons of Korah.” Remember the Kohathites were a family from the tribe of Levi. They were assigned the responsibility of taking care of the furniture of the tabernacle in the wilderness and later under King David become associated with a leadership role in the worship of the people at the temple (1 Chronicles 9:19). Even after the captivity of Israel in Babylon and the return of remnant during Ezra and Nehemiah’s time you can find them leading in praise and worship.

Many Bible scholars and teachers believe that Psalm 85 was written after the Jewish people returned to their land following their seventy years of captivity in Babylon (Jeremiah 29). Note the emphasis on the land (vv. 1, 9 and 12) and on God's anger against His people (vv. 3-5). God gave them favor with their captors, raised up leaders like Zerubbabel the governor, Joshua the high priest, and Ezra the scribe, and protected the Jewish remnant as they traveled to their war-ravaged land.

When you read Ezra 6 and the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, you learn that life was very difficult for them in the land. They did not always obey the Lord or show kindness to each other, but they did make a new start. The Scottish preacher George H. Morrison said, "The victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings," and he is right. It is a sin to disobey God and fall, but it is also a sin to stay fallen. We must always make a new beginning, and this Psalm gives us some instructions that we can follow after times of failure and chastening.

Whenever I read through a Psalm, I look for words that stand out that start with the same letter of the alphabet.

Sometimes this depends on the Bible translation I am using as to what I will find. Here in Psalm 85, these are the words that caught my attention. Restore (v. 4), revive (v. 6), rejoice (v. 6), and righteousness (vv. 10,11, 13).

These words tell the story of the nation of Israel repeatedly in the Old Testament. When they obeyed God, He blessed them and protected and provided for them. But when they failed and disobeyed God, He chastened them. Finally, when they repented, God would forgive them, restore them, revive them and they would rejoice and praise Him and experience a new beginning in a life of righteousness.

I believe this is also the story of most believers even today. We sin and fail in our walk with the Lord and go into captivity of our flesh and the world (Romans 6:15-23). But when we repent and turn back to the Lord, He forgives us, restores us back to fellowship and peace with Him, and revives us with new life. We then rejoice and praise the Lord. Many of the Psalms reflect this experience in the life of Israel and the psalmist who wrote them.

Psalm 85 is a wonderful praise and worship song, and at the same time a prayer (vv. 4-7), that we can lift up to the Lord as we seek to come back to the Lord and find the forgiveness we need.

God bless!

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