Because of their rebellion and disobedience, the Jewish people had been taken captive into Babylon for seventy years (Jeremiah 29). There are always consequences for sin, the most significant being separation from the Lord. When we feel that separation and desire to be restored to the Lord, repentance is beginning to occur in our hearts. It should move us spirit, soul, and body to reunite with the Lord. If all we long for is the end of the physical consequence of sins, then we are only experiencing worldly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10). Worldly sorrow is self-centered and only desires the personal pain from sin to cease. It does not care about the offense or dishonor the sin has caused a holy God. Worldly sorrow attempts to justify sin and explain it away. Godly sorrow owns the sin and grieves over the pain it has caused to God and others. Godly sorrow produces repentance evidenced by a changed life.
Jeremiah told the Jewish people they would go through seventy years of captivity for their sins, and then God would restore a remnant of people to a new beginning. Psalm 85 seems to describe a people desiring repentance and restoration of relationship with the Lord. They recognized the Lord’s favor and restoration (v. 1), received His forgiveness (v. 2), and rejoiced in the Lord’s removal of His divine wrath (v. 3). Repentance not only brings us closer to God but God closer to us. Repentance proves itself with lifestyle change (2 Corinthians 7:11). Here in Psalm 85 we see the people desired restoration to God their Savior (v. 4), removal of God’s anger (v. 5), a revival of joy in the Lord (v. 6), and reinstatement of God’s love and salvation (v. 7). They even said they desired to listen to what God said! (v. 8a). They knew His promises were true, and He alone brought peace (v. 8b). These were true signs of repentance, not selfishness.
One significant sign of repentance is returning to a holy fear and a desire for His glory (v. 9). How do you know when you need to repent? When you lose the fear of the Lord, you lose the desire for Him to be glorified in all you say and do (1 Corinthians 10:31). God’s people had strayed away from Him, but in His grace and mercy, He brought salvation near to them once again (v. 9). A covenant sign of the Lord’s love and faithfulness is the merging of His righteousness and peace (v. 10-11). This picture in Psalm 85 foreshadowed what Jesus could accomplish fully on the cross as He alone could make us righteous and bring us peace (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 5:1-2). The Jewish people had hope and a new beginning once again as, “The Lord will indeed give what is good” (v. 12). Because of their repentance and His promise to restore, they would experience peace and prosperity once again. Through Jesus’ victory over sin on the cross and over the tomb, we can be eternally restored to God. Thank God for Jesus’ righteousness and redemption!
- Are their sins presently abiding in your life of which you need to repent?
- Have you lost the holy fear of the Lord and the desire for Him to be glorified in every part of your life?
- Do you long to be restored to Him or just alleviated from your sinful consequences?
Lord, forgive me of my sins. Restore me to You. I desire our relationship more than comfort from the consequences of sin. In Your presence is peace, joy, and hope. Thank You for Your faithfulness and restorative grace. Thank you for new beginnings. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.