I have found a certain richness in the psalms numbering in the 80’s. One of my favorite praise songs from my time in youth ministry, “Better Is One Day in Your Courts”, came directly from Psalm 84. Today, we take a look at the following psalm, number 85. In it we find the heartbeat of a vibrant relationship with God.
It begins with a recap of all the good that God has done. And we are talking about the best kind of good: restoration, forgiveness, and really any component of salvation. God has covered our sin. God has turned His anger and wrath away from us. How did this happen? He directed His anger toward His Son, Jesus Christ, who had become a human. Our sin is covered by His blood–His death, which paid the wages of sin. God has worked all this, and it is glorious.
And yet, we must receive this salvation. God has done it, but we must accept it. In verses 4-7, the author seeks restoration. He seeks that God would demonstrate “lovingkindness”, or steadfast love. This is a continuing, nonstop sort of love; it is a familiar theme in the psalms. Finally, he asks that God might grant salvation to the people. God has made salvation available. We need only seek it. Ask, and you shall find.
In verse 8, we find that the author plans to hear what God will say. This is our relationship with God, responding to what He has already spoken to us. To be saved means that we can hear God. To be saved means that we have a living and listening relationship with Him. God speaks peace to us. What does that mean? God back to the beginning of the psalm. Peace –the peace between man and God–has been purchased. We forget. We get distracted. God speaks and reminds. Jesus, even though He was leaving His disciples, told them that He was bringing them peace. If you are not at peace today, it is not the fault of people in your life or circumstances you are facing. It is because you have forgotten God’s word of peace.
In the rest of the psalm, the author explodes with praise. When God speaks, this is the natural response. When we remember God, this is the natural response. In God, steadfast love and truth come together. In God, righteousness and peace come together. We have a God who loves us, who speaks truth to us, who makes us righteous, and who brings peace in the storms of life. He provides all we need. He guides us, even when we stray.
If this psalm teaches us anything, it’s that our time alone with God’s word can become a personal time of worship. You cannot read this psalm properly without worshipping Him. Today, as you read this psalm–or any other scripture, or remember God’s word to you–may you find yourself responding in worship!