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Personal Meditations on Powerful Texts

By Del Fehsenfeld III


      That we are living in an age of moral and spiritual decline is an assertion that few evangelical Christians would debate. The signs of decay are everywhere in society today, including within the four walls of the church. The question is no longer "Is there is a problem?" but rather "What are we, as the people of God, to do?" Psalm 85 outlines a course of action for those looking for spiritual answers in the midst of troubled times.

      First, the psalmist reviewed the evidences of God's love (verses 1-3). In six remembrances, he chronicled the faithfulness and compassion of God toward His people in deliverance from bondage, covering for sin, and turning away from judgment. Surely the great miracle of God's forgiveness is a pledge of all His other mercies! On this fact alone faith finds wings to soar above present discouragements.

      Second, the psalmist asked for spiritual power (verses 4-7). In recognition of the severity of the problem--that we do not have the capability to change ourselves--he turned to the One who can truly restore and save. Such a prayer is the beginning of the solution and gives birth to a great desire to experience God's reviving work and to rejoice personally in His mercy. With this focus, the attention shifts from dire circumstances to determined dependence on God.

      Third, the psalmist looked to God's promises (verses 8-11). In response to his prayer, God offered peace and salvation. In the person of Jesus Christ, whose ministry is prophetically described, the holiness and mercy of God meet at the cross and "kiss" each other (verse 10). What an incredible encouragement for the people of God! As Paul so compellingly reminded us, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32, NASB).

      Finally, the psalmist took courage in God's redemptive plan (verses 11-13). In bold recognition of the power and mercy of God, he proclaimed that there was hope for individual and societal change. The Lord has a plan for history! He is working out His plan of redemption for the nations, and He will complete what He has started. This is the great hope of revival, each outpouring of God's goodness to men being one more approximation of the final hour when Christ will return to consummate all things. Indeed, "righteousness will go before Him and will make His footsteps into a way" (verse 13).

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