RESTORATION—RISING FROM THE ASHES

This psalm was probably written after the Jewish people returned to their land following their seventy years of captivity in Babylon (Jer. 29). 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.

First, Give Thanks to God!  Jeremiah had told the people that their captivity would last seventy years and that then the Lord would restore a remnant to the land (Jer. 29). God protected the people as they made the long journey home. He forgave their sins and gave them a new beginning, and for this they thanked the Lord (Isa. 40:1-2). When we turn back to God, repent, and confess our sins, He turns back to us and restores us.

Ask God for Renewed Life. It is one thing for the nation collectively to have a new birth of freedom, but there must also be changes in individuals. The praise begun in verses 1-3 now becomes prayer from the hearts of the people. I am reminded of the God’s direction and desire to restore us from 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  God’s desire is to restore our relationship with Him!

“Turn [restore] us” is the burden of their prayer. It has well been said that a change in geography will never overcome a flaw in character. The return of the people to the land was no guarantee that all of them had returned to the Lord. Establishing the nation, rebuilding the temple, and restoring the liturgy would not guarantee God’s blessing on His people. They desperately needed His life at work within them.

Same here today.  We complain and cry out for this deadly virus that is wreaking havoc, holding us “captive” of our once self-made lifestyles to cease.  Even when it does, or is controlled by a vaccination, what will we have learned through the struggle of mask wearing and isolation?  We can go back to church, “back to what was”, and not have learned anything in the circumstance.  The virus did not come from God, but God used the life altering situation to restore what was lost in His people—if we allowed Him.

New life is not something that we manufacture ourselves; new life can come only from the Holy Spirit of God. God gave a special message about this to Haggai (Hag. 2:1-9) and also to Zechariah (Zech. 4:6).

Listen to God’s message to us.  “I can’t wait to hear”, (verse 8) suggests that the worship leader or a prophet stepped forward and said, in effect, “Now it is time to be silent before God and listen for His message to us for this hour.” God and His people were now reconciled, and He was speaking peace to them (Jer. 29:11).  The task of God’s people is to fear God and glorify Him (v. 9).

In verses 10-13, the Lord announced future blessings that He would send if His people continued to walk with Him. Righteousness and peace–attributes of God–are personified and would “kiss” each other, for the warfare would be over. 

There is a glimpse here of the Person and work of Jesus Christ, for only in Him can mercy and truth become friends, for if you tell the truth, you may not receive mercy! But the blessing changes the people, for truth springs up from the earth! God’s people are faithful and walk in the truth. The psalmist described a world of holiness and harmony, a picture of the coming kingdom over which Christ shall reign. And what a harvest there will be, not only of food necessary for survival (Hag. 1:3-11) but also of heaven-sent blessings that will bring joy to the land. As people walk through the land, God’s righteousness will go before them, and their way will be prepared. God’s will shall be done on earth just as it is now done in heaven.

“Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).

Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs

A Korah Psalm

85 1-3 God, you smiled on your good earth!
    You brought good times back to Jacob!
You lifted the cloud of guilt from your people,
    you put their sins far out of sight.
You took back your sin-provoked threats,
    you cooled your hot, righteous anger.

4-7 Help us again, God of our help;
    don’t hold a grudge against us forever.
You aren’t going to keep this up, are you?
    scowling and angry, year after year?
Why not help us make a fresh start—a resurrection life?
    Then your people will laugh and sing!
Show us how much you love us, God!
    Give us the salvation we need!

8-9 I can’t wait to hear what he’ll say.
    God’s about to pronounce his people well,
The holy people he loves so much,
    so they’ll never again live like fools.
See how close his salvation is to those who fear him?
    Our country is home base for Glory!

10-13 Love and Truth meet in the street,
    Right Living and Whole Living embrace and kiss!
Truth sprouts green from the ground,
    Right Living pours down from the skies!
Oh yes! God gives Goodness and Beauty;
    our land responds with Bounty and Blessing.
Right Living strides out before him,
    and clears a path for his passage.

TRUTH: “Right Living strides out before him and clears a path for His passage.”  “If my people who are called by My Name…”

Proverb 26:1, The Message

We no more give honors to fools
    than pray for snow in summer or rain during harvest.

WISDOM:  Do not honor, envy or ask fools to lead us to foolish living.  Seek wisdom.

Abba Father,

I repent of complaining while you are shaping me, knocking off all the rough edges, and molding me for your good and perfect will.  I give you my life.  I repent of foolish thinking and holding grudges against those who mock me.  I call on You to renew the joy of your salvation in me.  I ask for wisdom from You.  I pray for insight and understanding for those are the skills for right living.  Continue to mature your character traits in me.  It’s tough work and only you can do it.  I love you with all that is in me.  I need you every hour.  Restore us.  Heal us.  Save us.

In Jesus Name, Amen

And we’re singing…

By Your spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected King, is resurrecting me
In Your name I come alive
To declare Your victory
The resurrected King, is resurrecting me
By Your spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat…

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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