Our lesson comes from Psalm 85, which most believe was written shortly after the children of Israel were released from their Babylonian captivity.
Psalm 85:1 <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. 2 You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. Selah 3 You have taken away all Your wrath; You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger.
This is focusing on the past. The captivity of Jacob refers to how the children of Israel were brought back from their Babylonian captivity. They had completed their 70 years of captivity as prophesied. Their captivity caused them to repent and turn to God. So, God’s wrath had turned away from them. However, notice our next verses:
4 Restore us, O God of our salvation, And cause Your anger toward us to cease. 5 Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? 6 Will You not revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You? 7 Show us Your mercy, LORD, And grant us Your salvation.
This is talking about their present. Though they had returned from captivity, the people were still weak, and the plea was for God to restore them. In other words, they want to be fully restored. They don’t want God to be angry at them or future generations for what they did in the past. They want to be revived and rejoice in the Lord as He shows them mercy and grants them salvation.
Only God can grant us salvation. If we want to be revived today after we find ourselves in sin, we too must repent and call out to God in prayer, asking for forgiveness. Only He can forgive us.
8 I will hear what God the LORD will speak, For He will speak peace To His people and to His saints; But let them not turn back to folly. 9 Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land. 10 Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed. 11 Truth shall spring out of the earth, And righteousness shall look down from heaven. 12 Yes, the LORD will give what is good; And our land will yield its increase. 13 Righteousness will go before Him, And shall make His footsteps our pathway.
This is talking about the future. The writer knows that if we hear and keep the Word of God, then we and the future generations that do the same will be blessed by peace. However, if we choose to turn back to folly, that peace will be gone.
The main thought is that when we continue to walk in the path of righteousness, we will be pleasing to God and be blessed. We serve an awesome God who loves us and wants the best for us, but we must choose to live for Him. Even if we find ourselves living in sin, He still allows us to turn away from our sins so that He can forgive us. That is the kind of God that we have. So, I hope we never forget how wonderful our Savior is and what a privilege it is to be able to repent of our sins and be right with God knowing that heaven will be our home. May we continually praise our God for the salvation and peace He has made possible for us.