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  • Fr. Tarcisio

Bible Study. PSALM 85 (84) Restore us, God our Savior.

1. TYPE OF PSALM: Hymn of hope for reconstruction

In the midst of the difficult situation after the exile in the reconstruction works of the temple and the city of Jerusalem, the psalmist recognizes the liberation from exile and invites his people to keep their spirits in the hard task of restoration. Life resumes in that beloved place, which had been destroyed in the conquest of Jerusalem by the army of King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.


PSALM 85 (84)

1 You, Lord, showed favor to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. 2 You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins.[b] 3 You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger.

4 Restore us again, 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, Lord, and grant us your salvation.

8 I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—

but let them not turn 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.

What does the text say?

In the original Hebrew of the Psalm the verb shûb appears several times, which means "to return", it indicates the return of those who had been deported to Babylon, but it also means a spiritual "return", that is, the "conversion”. So the physical reconstruction of the city must be accompanied by a personal reconstruction in its relationship with God.

vv.3-4 In this "return" the Lord reveals his love by forgiving the wickedness of his people, by blotting out all their sins, by completely suppressing their anger, by stopping the fire of his anger.

The Psalm declares that peace and salvation are offered "to those who convert from the heart" (v. 9).

In verses 10-14 a new world is described, in which the love of God and his faithfulness, as if they were persons, embrace each other; in the same way, justice and peace also kiss when they meet.

This psalm is a prayer, a song of thanksgiving to the God who has saved them: "You, Lord, showed favor to your land; You restored the fortunes of Jacob." But the return has not been easy; It is useless to rebuild the outside if there is no interior reconstruction, a true conversion.

3. MEDITATE ON THE WORD. Does this reading say anything special to you?

In the face of failures or changes we make in our lives, how many times have we started over? We want to rebuild, we want to start a new stage, leaving behind the setbacks, the bad decisions, the vices; But these changes must start from within us, from our convictions. We can change city or country, we can change house, but if we do not change our defects, our vices and bad behavior then things will remain the same.

4. PRAY WITH THE WORD. What do you say to God?

Restore us, our Savior God… Show us, Lord, your mercy and give us your salvation. God, who announces peace to your People, to your friends and to those who convert to you from their hearts; May we accept the gift of peace that your Son left us and may we collaborate in the world with our good actions.

5. CONTEMPLATE THE WORD. How does your look change?

The real changes do not start from outside, but from within. Knowing that, as humans beings, we are always called to rebuild, change and renew ourselves. The Lord will do his part, he will give us the rain and the earth will give its fruit. Let us also collaborate so that justice and peace, mercy and fidelity may be found.

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