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Summary: Shalom is God’s peace made alive in the life of the believer. It guides, comforts, quiets, restores and sustains, regardless of life circumstances. Shalom is found nowhere apart from God.

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It is possible not to see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God's [back] fade in the distance. So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will be time enough for running, for rushing, for worrying, for pushing. For now, stay, wait; something is on the horizon.

How do we wait calmly, with no idea of when Christ will come? Shalom: a Hebrew word with no English equivalent. It's often translated peace, but is far more than peace; it is the comprehensive concept of wellbeing, peace, and welfare, which includes love, faithfulness, righteousness, prosperity, and glory.¹ It is not dependent on circumstance, but on God.

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Psalm 85 is a prayer for the favor and saving work of Yahweh. No complaint is expressed directly in the psalm, but conditions of distress seem obvious from vv. 2-8.

B. The psalmist and those he represents wish to be revived, a restoration of “life” by God (7). The second part of the psalm (9-14) contains statements about the saving work of God that is near at hand for those who are faithful to him. The final section is a poetic depiction of the qualities of God’s great presence and power.

C. Last week we saw Israel’s plea for the restoration of HOPE. Today Israel seeks God for the restoration of PEACE. In both we see models for living in the anticipation of Christ.

D. If you are not at peace (shalom), this is for you. OYBT Psalm 85, as together we seek the peace God wants to restore in us.

[Shalom is God’s peace made alive in the life of the believer. It guides, comforts, quiets, restores and sustains, regardless of life circumstances. Shalom is found nowhere apart from God.]

II. REMEMBERING PAST MERCIES (1-3)

A. The psalmist begins with a rehearsal of God’s great mercy to his people in the past. It is the source of their hope and the basis for the peace they desire.

1. You showed favor to your land. Israel recognizes the land belongs to God, and his favor allows them to live, work and prosper. It is his grace (not their right) that preserves them and grants them shalom.

2. You forgave the iniquity of your people. You covered their sins. You set aside your wrath. God’s wrath is beyond anything you and I can comprehend.

B. There is great comfort in having a history with God. We can rehearse his mercies to us in the past, and be assured that he (who does not change) will be merciful to us again.

1. Remember a time when you were afraid, and escaped disaster; sick and delivered from pain (or death); when a child or grandchild was born healthy; when an accident was avoided, or injuries recovered. This is part of your history with God.

2. How quickly we credit luck, good fortune, or our own prowess for these miracles of mercy. How disappointing it must be to God when we cheapen his mercy.

III. PETITION FOR THE RESTORATION OF PEACE (4-8)

A. God’s past mercies are the source of Israel’s confidence. They boldly petition God for his intervention in their lives:

1. Restore us. Put away your displeasure toward us (4)

2. Will you be angry with us forever? (5)

3. Revive us so that we may rejoice in you (6)

4. Show us your love, grant us your salvation (7)

B. The Israelites have experienced adverse conditions for so long that they feel dead—in need of a renewal of life (revival) by the one who gives life.

1. You and I don’t know how it feels to be driven from our homeland by invading forces, but we know that stress effects both mind and body. It drains our energy, our spirit, and makes us feel lifeless.

2. The psalmist petitions God to revive the people, that they might rejoice in him.

3. He also declares the people’s intention to listen to what God has to say (8). When one asks God to answer prayer, it must include a vow to listen and obey.

C. He promises shalom to his people, his saints. God hears, understands, and responds. He brings shalom to his people. In return, the psalmist warns, the people must not return to their folly.

D. How boldly do you petition God? Do you come to him assured of his response, based on his acts of mercy in your past? The next time you petition God, consider the model in this psalm. You may never interact with God the same way again.

[Shalom is God’s peace made alive in the life of the believer. It guides, comforts, quiets, restores and sustains, regardless of life circumstances. Shalom is found nowhere apart from God.]

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