This Psalm of Revival contains three divisions, The Past Look at Revival (v.1-3), The Present Plea for Revival (v.4-7), and The Future Picture of Revival (v.8-13). The writer is not given, but, the sons of Korah of the priestly tribe of Levi are the recipients.
"LORD, Thou hast been favorable unto Thy land, Thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob." (v.1) This declaration of God's blessing upon His land and His people, is reminiscent of the return from the Babylonian captivity which began in 606 B.C. and ended 70 years later in 536 B.C. (Ezra 1:11)
Then in (v.2) the Psalmist develops the reason for God's blessing: "Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of Thy people, Thou hast covered all their sin. Selah" which is a direct answer to the prayer of Daniel the prophet recorded in Daniel 9:3-19 bringing about the return according to the prophecy of Jeremiah 25:11,12.
In (v.3) the cause of God's blessing is shown: "Thou hast taken away all Thy wrath; Thou hast turned Thyself from the fierceness of Thine anger. "God's attitude toward His land and His people changed after the prophesied time period of chastisement passed and the appeal of Daniel was given.
So, in view God's past working in reviving His people, the Psalmist makes his pointed appeal: "Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause Thine anger toward us to cease." (v.4) Do it again, O God, You delivered us before, You can do it again by bringing an end to Your anger now!
His next tactic is utilizing three questions: "Wilt Thou be angry with us for ever? Wilt Thou draw out Thine anger to all generations? Wilt not Thou revive us again that Thy people may rejoice in Thee? (v.5,6)". The first two questions have an obvious answer...No, God will not continue to show His anger forever.
But, the last question, in view of the first two questions, calls for a change in God's disposition asking for something that is definitely the will of God, the revival of His people and the joy that comes with it, thereby glorifying God.
In (v.7) the Psalmist demonstrates his understanding and gives the basis for his request: "Shew us Thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us Thy salvation." Only through the never-ending mercies of God can his request for deliverance be realized. He knows it is God's mercy that must be given for this miraculous event to take place.
Then, he describes the future conditions of revival and pledges to conform: "I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints, but let them not turn again to folly." Obedience brings peace to God's people, but, backsliding will not be tolerated!
"Surely His salvation is nigh them that fear Him; that glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Yea, the LORD will give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. Righteousness shall go before Him; and shall set us in the way of His step."
These last four verses (v.9-12) thoroughly describe the conditions that exist during the revival of God's people: "Salvation/deliverance to those who fear the LORD", His glory is evident, Mercy and truth bring their reviving results, His righteousness supernaturally rules (emphasized three times), Truth miraculously is made known, the LORD's physical blessing follows, and, then the LORD supernaturally brings about the obedience of those who yield to His working.
These activities and blessings from the LORD mentioned above have been recorded in past revivals that have swept through the earth in various places over the centuries of recorded church history. However, they also can be seen in the multiple Old Testament revivals of God's people: Genesis 35, Exodus 19, I Kings 15, II Kings 12, 18, 22 & 23; I Chronicles 15, 24, 29-32, 34 &35; Jonah 3. "Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause Thy face to shine and we shall be saved." (Psalm 80:19)
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