“O Lord, You showed favor to your land; You restored the captivity of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of Your people; You covered all their sin. Selah! You withdrew all Your fury; You turned away from Your burning anger.” Psalm 85:1-3 NASB
The question is being asked today in some of our religious institutions whether the subject of revival is “old-fashioned, out of date, irrelevant?” After all, it seems like it has been ages ago since there has been a spiritual awakening among a group of God’s people that resulted in both fire in the pulpit and fire in the pew, which eventually led to churches being revitalized and large numbers of lost people getting saved! That all seems to many as “so yesterday!”
Similar thoughts may have passed through the mind of the Psalmist. Notice that all the verbs in the first three verses of Psalm 85 are in the PAST TENSE (What God formerly had done). Then, after verse two he pens the word Selah! This word may mean Pause, or Musical Interlude. A pause, or interlude gives one time to think, consider, contemplate. Is God unable to act on this level again? Or, is He simply unwilling? But the writer of this Psalm knows the Lord too well to fall for that! He knew the God Who told Moses that He had heard the cry of His people, and He had “come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and…bring them up to a good and spacious land.” And he was aware the Lord then accomplished all that He had promised! Based on the assurance of God’s faithfulness, and the obvious need of the hour, the Psalmist then presents his petitions.
The first request is for the Lord to cease His indignation. “Restore us, O God of our salvation, and cause your indignation toward us to cease. Will You be angry with us forever? Will you prolong Your anger to all generations? (verses 4-5) In verse 8 he refers to being in a spiritual condition where we need to be restored as “folly” or “stupidity”! It really is dumb for a Believer to let himself (or herself) get so indifferent and cold spiritually that he or she needs revival!
The second request is for the Lord to confer His revelation. “Will You not Yourself revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your lovingkindness O Lord and grant us Your salvation!” Revival is the work of God, and he is the only one Who can do it! The same One who reproves us is the only One who can revive us! The One who chastens is the One who quickens!
When Danish sculptor Albert Thorwaldsen completed his famous statue of Christ with His arms extended, and His head bowed, he invited a friend to view it before showing it to the public. The man walked around the work and said, “I cannot see His face!” Thorwaldsen replied, “You must get down on your knees!”
Once we recognize the need for revival, the first order of spiritual business is to “humble ourselves!” See 2nd Chronicles 7:14…