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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Psalms 85



Verses 1-13

In my brief comments upon this Psalm, I shall not feel bound to keep to the immediate occasion for which it was written, but shall seek to find a use for it in the present circumstances of God’s saints.

Psalms 85:1. Lord, thou hast been favourable unto the land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.

Whenever you are in a low state of mind or heart, remember God’s past lovingkindnesses. Recall the record of what he has done for his people in ages long gone by, for he is the same God for ever and ever, and, therefore, what he has done in the past, he will do in the future. As the wise man said, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the Sun.” It is certainly so concerning God’s dealings “Lord thou hast been favorable unto thy land,” even when it was stoned with ‘sin’ “thou hast brought Back the captivity of Jacob.” even when that captivity was brought upon the people by their own fault. Lord, bring back my captivity! Be favourable unto me; Deliver me from my spiritual declensions, and give me back my joy and peace:

Psalms 85:2. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.

What a sweet subject for our meditation we found, last Lord’s-day morning, in those words of the psalmist, “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities”! Now, if God has indeed blotted out the sin of his people, at a plea this is to use with him for all that we still need from him! Will he pardon us, and yet leave us to perish? Will he pay such a ransom price as the blood of his well-beloved Son to set us free from the bondage of sin, and then will he not help us even to the end? Will he not lift up our heavy heart, and revive our drooping spirit? Ah! that he will if we know how to plead his former mercy, and to urge upon him that, because he has forgiven our iniquity, and covered all our sin, he should now heal our diseases, redeem our life from destruction, and crown us with loving-kindness and tender mercies.

Psalms 85:3-4. Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger. Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.

“Let us have a special application of the general mercy. Thy wrath to thy children has passed away; so let us no longer sit down, and cower beneath it, fearful of its terrors. Lord, bring us back to thee! Our heart desires conversion, but thou alone canst give it to us to the full. Turn us, O God of our salvation, and we shall be turned.”

Psalms 85:6. Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? Wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?

“Thou mightest well do so if thou wert dealing with us only according to the strict requirements of thy righteous law; but we are thy children, Lord; and is a father always angry with his children? Thou hast forgiven us our iniquity; and, therefore, the great cause of thy wrath against us is gone. Now, O Lord, reveal thy love to us! Let us not any longer be under the sense of our guilt, or feel the absence of the joy and peace which thou givest unto those whom thou forgivest.”

Psalms 85:6. Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?

“We have got down very low, great God. We have been, these last six days, mixing with the world, and perhaps we have forgotten thee. Come to us, we pray thee. Give us fresh life; ‘revive us again.’ Many a time hast thou, spiritually, raised us up as from the grave’s mouth; wilt thou not do it again? All that thou hast done for us in the past will be lost if thou dost not continue thy mercy to us. ‘Wilt thou not revive us again?’ Thou lovest to see us happy, and thou art thyself the happy God; oh, make us happy, too,

by reviving us, ‘that thy people may rejoice in thee’!”

Psalms 85:7. Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.

So far, the Psalm is a prayer. Now the psalmist seems to stop, and wait for the answer to his supplication. Beloved, always do that when you pray. When you have spoken to God, wait for him to speak to you. Do not let it appear that your prayer needs no answer; but really expect a reply to it, and then, in patience and in silence, wait for it.

Psalms 85:8. I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

For, if they do, their darkness will return, and they will again have to mourn their Lord’s absence. Peradventure, the rod will fall more heavily upon them, and their souls will sink into a deeper despondency. For a Christian to be a fool once, is a sad thing; but for him to turn again to folly, is a multiplied form of iniquity which God will surely punish.

Psalms 85:9. Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.

O beloved brethren and sisters, lay hold on that salvation which is nigh unto you, and exalt in it; and, even now, let your spirits feel the glow of his glory shining in your soul!

Psalms 85:10. Mercy and truth are met together;

But only at one place,—the cross of Calvary, where Jesus died; there, “mercy and truth are met together;”

Psalms 85:10. Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Through Christ’s death, sin has been punished, sinners are saved, God’s law is vindicated, and the depths of his mercy are displayed: “Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”

Psalms 85:11. Truth shall spring out of the earth;--

Promises, which lay hidden in God’s Word, like seeds buried in the earth, shall spring up before our eyes, like flowers carpeting the earth with beauty: “Truth shall spring out of the earth;”—

Psalms 85:11. And righteousness shall look down from heaven.

As if so pleased with the state of things brought about by the atoning sacrifice of Christ that it flung up the windows of heaven to look down and see this great sight: “Righteousness shall look down from heaven.”

Psalms 85:12-13. Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.

May God thus revive us, by his Holy Spirit, for Christ’s sake! Amen.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 85:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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