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Psalm 85 1
1 You showed favor to your land, O LORD; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. 2 You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins. 3 You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger. 4 Restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us. 5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations? 6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? 7 Show us your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation. 8 I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints—but let them not return to folly. 9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. 10 Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. 11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. 12 The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. 13 Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.

clip_image038Background 2

Psalms (Greek, “song”), is book of the Old Testament, a collection of 150 hymns or poems known also as the Psalter. The book is divided into five sections (each one marked at the end by a doxology: Psalms 41:13, 72:18-20, 89:52, 106:48, 150), perhaps in imitation of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament. The Hebrew title of the book is Tehillim (Praises or Songs of Praise). Psalms is the first book in the Writings, the third part of the Hebrew canon. It is found between the books of Job and Proverbs in Christian versions of the Bible.

Some of the Psalms appear to have been written for individual recital, others for recital by the congregation. Many of them were written by professional musicians and include musical directions for instrumental performers. A few directions, such as the congregational response “Praise the Lord,” or “Hallelujah,” are still understood and used liturgically.

The text attributes 74 psalms to the Hebrew king David, 12 psalms to his son and successor Solomon, and 1 to Moses; 32 psalms are identified with other individuals, but the rest are anonymous. The most widely accepted view of their date of composition holds that the collection reflects a long period, from the Exodus about 1300 BC to the immediate postexilic period after 538 BC.

Biblical Truths 3

Matthew Henry:
85:1-7 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.

85:8-13 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

Charles H. Spurgeon:
It is the prayer of a patriot for his afflicted country, in which he pleads the Lord’s former mercies, and by faith foresees brighter days. We believe that David wrote it, but many question that assertion. Certain interpreters appear to grudge the psalmist David the authorship of any of the psalms, and refer the sacred songs by wholesale to the times of Hezekiah, Josiah, the Captivity, and the Maccabees. It is remarkable that, as a rule, the more skeptical a writer is, the more resolute is he to have done with David; while the purely evangelic annotators are for the most part content to leave the royal poet in the chair of authorship. The charms of a new theory also operate greatly upon writers who would have nothing at all to say if they did not invent a novel hypothesis, and twist the language of the psalm in order to justify it. The present psalm has of course been referred to the Captivity, the critics could not resist the temptation to do that, though, for our part we see no need to do so: it is true a captivity is mentioned in Ps 85:1, but that does not necessitate the nation’s having been carried away into exile, since Job’s captivity was turned, and yet he had never left his native land: moreover, the text speaks of the captivity of Jacob as brought back, but had it referred to the Babylonian emigration, it would have spoken of Judah; for Jacob or Israel, as such, did not return. The first verse in speaking of “the land” proves that the author was not an exile. Our own belief is that David penned this national hymn when the land was oppressed by the Philistines, and in the spirit of prophecy he foretold the peaceful years of his own reign and the repose of the rule of Solomon, the psalm having all along an inner sense of which Jesus and his salvation are the key. The presence of Jesus the Savior reconciles earth and heaven, and secures to us the golden age, the balmy days of universal peace.

Items for Discussion

  • In what way can you relate our country today and the feelings of the Psalmist over his land?
  • What are the causes that we deal with today that make us feel like we are captives in our own land?
  • How is the Psalmist trying to change the situation?
  • If God is the only answer that the Psalmist suggests can change things, what does that say to how we should view our leaders and their abilities?
  • In what way has the Christian community let down our current leaders of our country?

 

Hebrews 2:14-15
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

Background 4

Although the author is unknown, Hebrews has been dated to shortly after the Pauline epistles were collected and began to circulate, c. 95. Most scholars today believe the document was written to prevent apostasy. (Apostasy is the abandonment of a political or religious belief.) Some have interpreted apostasy to mean a number of different things, such as a group of Christians in one sect leaving for another more conservative sect, one in which the author disapproves. Some have seen apostasy as a move from the Christian assembly to pagan ritual. In light of a possibly Jewish-Christian audience, the apostasy in this sense may be in regard to Jewish-Christians leaving the Christian assembly to return to the synagogue. In light of Pauline doctrine, the epistle dissuades non-Jewish Christians from feeling a need to convert to Judaism. Therefore the author writes, “Let us hold fast to our confession” (Heb 4:14).

The Bible’s Epistle to the Hebrews affirms special creation. It affirms that God by His Son, Jesus Christ, made the worlds. “God…hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…by whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2). The epistle also states that the worlds themselves do not provide the evidence of how God formed them. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3).

Biblical Truths

The notes below provide comparative translations. It is provided to let you see what type of study material is available on the Internet. This is but a small portion of the information available on the links in the footnotes. This lesson takes us back to the original Greek writing to fully understand God’s Word.

Verse 14 5

Greek: epei oun ta paidia kekoinoneken (3SRAI) haimatos kai sarkos kai autos paraplesios meteschen (3SAAI) ton auton hina dia tou thanatou katargese (3SAAS) ton to kratos echonta (PAPMSA) tou thanatou tout estin (3SPAI) ton diabolon

Amplified: Since, therefore, [these His] children share in flesh and blood [in the physical nature of human beings], He [Himself] in a similar manner partook of the same [nature], that by [going through] death He might bring to nought and make of no effect him who had the power of death–that is, the devil– (Amplified Bible – Lockman)

Barclay: The children then have a common flesh and blood and he completely shared in them, so that, by that death of his, he might bring to nothing him who has the power of death, (Westminster Press)

NLT: Because God’s children are human beings–made of flesh and blood–Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. (NLT – Tyndale House)

Phillips: Since, then, “the children” have a common physical nature as human beings, he also became a human being, so that by going through death as a man he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: Therefore, since the children share in common with one another blood and flesh, He Himself also partook with them in the same, in order that through the aforementioned death He might bring to naught the one having the dominion of death, that is, the Devil. (Erdmans)

Young’s Literal: Seeing, then, the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he himself also in like manner did take part of the same, that through death he might destroy him having the power of death — that is, the devil—

Verse 15 6

Greek: kai apallaxo (3SAAS) toutous hosoi phobo thanatou dia pantos tou zon (PAN) enochoi esan (3PIAI) douleias

Amplified: And also that He might deliver and completely set free all those who through the [haunting] fear of death were held in bondage throughout the whole course of their lives. (Amplified Bible – Lockman)

Barclay: and might set free all those who, for fear of death, were all their lives liable to a slave’s existence. (Westminster Press)

NLT: Only in this way could he deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. (NLT – Tyndale House)

Phillips: and might also set free those who lived their whole lives a prey to the fear of death. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: And effect the release of those who by reason of fear of death through the entire course of their lives were held in bondage. (Erdmans)

Young’s Literal: and might deliver those, whoever, with fear of death, throughout all their life, were subjects of bondage,

Items for Discussion

  • What two things did Jesus’ becoming human and dying accomplish?
  • We often talk about Jesus as both human and God – What part of that knowledge do you find most comforting?
  • Let’s build a list of the benefits of Jesus being both man and God, human and supernatural in His composition?
  • When looking at the world that does not believe in Christ as a savior, what items in that list do you think are the greatest losses to their faith walk?
  • How does the knowledge and belief in Christ help us with our battle described in Psalm 85, being captives in our own land?

Discussion Challenge

  • What can we do today to bring God back to our nation and our church so we no longer feel like captives in our own land?
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