Psalm 85

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by the sons of Korah.
1 LORD, you have been favorable to your land. You have restored the fortunes of Jacob. 2 You have forgiven the iniquity of your people. You have covered all their sin. Selah. 3 You have taken away all your wrath. You have turned from the fierceness of your anger. 4 Turn us, God of our salvation, and cause your indignation towards us to cease. 5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you draw out your anger to all generations? 6 Won’t you revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? 7 Show us your loving kindness, LORD. Grant us your salvation. 8 I will hear what God, the LORD, will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, his saints; but let them not turn again to folly. 9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. 10 Mercy and truth meet together. Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 11 Truth springs out of the earth. Righteousness has looked down from heaven. 12 Yes, the LORD will give that which is good. Our land will yield its increase. 13 Righteousness goes before him, And prepares the way for his steps.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–7

The sense of present afflictions should not do away the remembrance of former mercies. The favour of God is the fountain of happiness to nations, as well as to particular persons. When God forgives sin, he covers it; and when he covers the sin of his people, he covers it all. See what the pardon of sin is. In compassion to us, when Christ our Intercessor has stood before thee, thou hast turned away thine anger. When we are reconciled to God, then, and not till then, we may expect the comfort of his being reconciled to us. He shows mercy to those to whom he grants salvation; for salvation is of mere mercy. The Lord’s people may expect sharp and tedious afflictions when they commit sin; but when they return to him with humble prayer, he will make them again to rejoice in him.

Verses 8–13

Sooner or later, God will speak peace to his people. If he do not command outward peace, yet he will suggest inward peace; speaking to their hearts by his Spirit. Peace is spoken only to those who turn from sin. All sin is folly, especially backsliding; it is the greatest folly to return to sin. Surely God’s salvation is nigh, whatever our difficulties and distresses are. Also, his honour is secured, that glory may dwell in our land. And the truth of the promises is shown by the Divine mercy in sending the Redeemer. The Divine justice is now satisfied by the great atonement. Christ, the way, truth, and life, sprang out of the earth when he took our nature upon him, and Divine justice looked upon him well pleased and satisfied. For his sake all good things, especially his Holy Spirit, are given to those who ask him. Through Christ, the pardoned sinner becomes fruitful in good works, and by looking to and trusting in the Saviour’s righteousness, finds his feet set in the way of his steps. Righteousness is a sure guide, both in meeting God, and in following him.

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