Ep.190: Psalm 85: Turning Back.

Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.

Today we look at Psalm 85, which uses the phrase, “Turn back” five times. 

Verse one says to God, “You turned back the captivity of Jacob”. Verse three says to God, “You turned back your fierce anger.” Do you ever feel it would help if God changed his attitude toward you, if he turned your life around? Perhaps he might turn back his anger toward you, or free you from captivity to guilt and fears and obsessions.  

The next two occurrences of “turn back” ask God to turn us around. Verse four says, “Turn us again, God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us”. Verse six says, “Will you not turn us again, revive us, that we may rejoice in you?” Yes, we need to turn a corner in our lives. Perhaps we need revival, a u-turn in our life toward God. Perhaps we need to turn our plodding emotional experiences to a habit of rejoicing.  

The final occurrence of “turn back” is in verse 8: “God promises peace to his people, but let them not turn back to folly.” 

Let’s pray some of the words and phrases from Psalm 85. 

Our father, revive us, turn us, so we may rejoice in you (v. 6). Your gift of new life is not just a package you deliver to our doorstep; it is the gift that Christ himself comes to live within us. As Paul said, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). O Christ, live your life within us, help us to live your life as our own, help us to hear and obey your voice within. 

As the poet says, 
  I will listen to what God the Lord says;
      he promises peace to his people. . .
      but let them not turn to folly (v. 8). 

O Lord, our world resounds with noise and folly, the noise of hurricanes and politics and video games and advertisements. We are deafened by the  noise within–anxiety for family and friends, concerns for finances, stresses about the future, the noise of temptations and obsessions and lust. Teach us to turn down the volume on our noise. Teach us to listen to your voice within. 

In the quiet, we hear you promise peace to your people. As Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you” (John 14:27). O Lord, make us a people of peace. Help us walk in your peace through a winter of COVID-19, help us discern your peace in our conflicted lives, help us knit our families together in peace, to build our communities in the peace of your Spirit. 

As the poet says,
    Love and faithfulness meet together;
      righteousness and peace kiss each other (v. 10).

O Lord, in our war-torn world, in our conflicted lives, how good it is that we do not choose between righteousness and peace. For in your vision of the world, righteousness and peace kiss each other. Love and faithfulness meet together. Help us to be peaceably right and lovingly faithful to you, to your word, and to Christ within. 

Grant us the blessing Psalm 85 promises:
  The Lord will indeed give what is good,
      and our land will yield its harvest.
  Righteousness goes before him
      and prepares the way for his steps (vv. 12-13).. 


I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.