Continuing our Summer in the Psalms this morning, let us focus on Psalm 85.
It is written during a time of separation - a time when the Psalmist and the people of God were in need of a touch from God.
Although we don’t really know the details of the situation in which they find themselves, it is clear that the situation was far from ideal.
They were in need of a mighty revival.
We are also in need of a revival this morning - I’m not talking about a series of services, but an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon God’s church.
We can look back and see that God has worked powerfully in the past, and since we know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, that He can and will work in our world today as well.
In our Psalm this morning, our Psalmist comes to God on behalf of his people - he brings nothing but a memory of all that God had done in the past, and he speaks a hope-filled longing that the people will once again experience the blessings that God has given them in the past.
Let’s turn to Psalm 85
He has looked at the circumstances, his surroundings, and he is convinced that there is a need for God to do something.
The people of God had started out so promising, but since then, they have experienced great loss and huge disappointments.
Their land isn’t producing like it once did.
They are struggling to keep their head above water, so to speak, and the rumor is that it is all because God has left them.
Now, we know that God doesn’t leave His people - He has always been a faithful God, but we find that scripture tells us there are some things that anger God: things like injustice, not caring for the poor, those who could not make it on their own, and idolatry.
The truth is that God had not left them, they had left God.
They had turned their backs on Him, and the result was that they no longer felt like He was with them.
I hear and read laments today about God not working through the church the way He once did, and I have to wonder, has He left us?
Has He decided to go elsewhere?
Does He still work through the church today?
Or has the church, somewhere along the way gotten distracted and turned away from Him?
I believe that if we, the church, would focus our desires and our prayers toward honoring and glorifying Him, toward making sure that we are following His guidance from His word, that He wants to once again pour out His Holy Spirit on the church today.
There is certainly a measure of pleading in this Psalm as the Psalmist says in Psalm 85:6-7
It almost sounds like the Psalmist is begging a God that is standing far away waiting for His people to beg Him, but the truth of the matter is that God is not far off, He is not waiting until we beg Him enough.
He is ready to pour out His blessings on us, His people, the Psalmist tells us that His salvation is near!
And, as God’s people turn towards Him, He is ready to enthusiastically pour out His blessings on His people.
We may sense, as we look out at our world around us, and as we look at the church, that there is a spiritual dryness.
We have watched as far too many spiritual leaders have succumbed to temptations of the flesh and have turned away from God.
We have felt a barrenness in our spirits - we have witnessed loss and disappointment.
We have watched as the church has far too often tried to turn things around in our own strength.
In my heart of hearts this morning, I stand with the Psalmist, in need of a touch from God.
I have longed to see the outpouring of His Spirit on His church in our generation.
I have seen pockets of revival, moments of revival, even seasons of revival, but I long for more.
I long for HIs presence, not only in our singing, but in every aspect of my life.
I long for revival that changes our hearts to love as Jesus loved and to pour out our best efforts to show His love to those in our circle of influence.
Let’s take a final look at Psalm 85:9-13
These final verses tell us that the sorrow and lament need not be the end of the story.
He is still alive and at work today, in and through His people - yes, in and through us.
The Psalmist presents us with
1) Remembrance of Past Revival (Psalm 85:1–3)
This is a place where we sometimes tend to get stuck.
We look back over our lives and the seasons of spiritual health and growth and we can get stuck there.
That is not why we need to remember the past revival.
Remembering the past revival helps us to know how God works, and it should bring encouragement.
Sometimes I hear people long for the days of old.
People do that partially because we do not remember the struggles that we had in the past, but no matter how great something was that happened in the past, we cannot live there.
Oswald Chambers once wrote, “It is no use to pray for the old days; stand square where you are and make the present better than any past has been.
Base all on your relationship to God and go forward, and presently you will find that what is emerging is infinitely better than the past ever was.” (Oswald Chambers as cited in Wiersbe, W. W. (1991).
With the Word Bible Commentary (Ps 85:1).
Nashville: Thomas Nelson.)
So, yes, remember the times of His presence in the past, but do not get stuck there.
When revival was present in the past it was due to the faithfulness of God’s people to pray for it and to be obedient to His leading in our personal, private lives.
When we live in obedience to Him, we have the right to:
2) Request for Present Revival (Psalm 85:4–7)
God, Himself is the source of revival.
We cannot make it happen by anything that we do, although we can inhibit it through our disobedience.
Throughout verses 4-7 of Psalm 85, the psalmist identifies the OBJECTS OF REVIVAL: us.
He asks that God would restore us.
To restore, means to “turn”.
It represents repentance.
As the people of God repent, He puts away His indignation towards us, spares us His anger, revives us, shows us His steadfast love and grants us His salvation.
Revive (châyâh) means to resurrect or make alive.
It implies that the people were alive once, have died in a spiritual sense, and now need to be given spiritual life again.
This is what the church almost always needs, and it is how revivals come.
We think of revivals as being a movement of God in the world so that unchurched unbelievers come to Christ.
But revivals do not start in the world.
They start in the church, since it is the church that needs to live again (Boice, J. M. (2005).
Psalms 42–106: An Expositional Commentary (p.
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.).
3. Revelation for Future Revival (Psalm 85:8–13).
If we truly desire for God to revive His church, then we will prepare our hearts and minds for His filling.
We have a tendency, let me be clear, I have a tendency to fill too much of my time with useless noise and activity.
It is something we often do - the TV is always on, the radio or music is always playing as we drive, we always are looking at our phone to see what is going on in the lives of our loved ones through their rendition of it on social media.
We need to turn off the noise sometimes, to intentionally go to our Lord and spend time with Him in prayer.
That is one of the things I try to do when I ride my bicycle.
I don’t always succeed - sometimes I listen to the radio or just count down the miles until I arrive to my car.
But on the days I spend the miles in prayer and focusing in on my savior, I find myself being more refreshed in spite of how tired I may be.
Revival is not a self-help method, it is ultimately, giving God full control of everything that you currently control.
It is said that Gypsy Smith was once asked how to begin a revival.
The response: “Go home, lock yourself in your room, kneel down in the middle of your floor.
Draw a chalk mark all around yourself and ask God to start the revival inside that chalk mark.
When He has answered your prayer, the revival will be on.”
(Gypsy Smith as recorded in Tan, P. L. (1996).
Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (p. 1152).
Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.)
Lord, revive us again!