Restore Us Again
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Overview: The Psalmist recognizes how good the Lord has been to His people despite their previous failure to follow Him faithfully. Without giving the full background, he recalls a time in Israel’s past when the Lord withdrew His wrath, forgave His people and restored their fortunes. It is clear from the text, however, that the Psalmist is living during a time when those fortunes have been reversed, God’s anger has been rekindled, and God’s people need to be forgiven. His plea for restoration and revival is based on God’s grace but also includes a definite response from God’s people to find satisfaction in the Lord rather than returning to their foolish ways. His desire for life to return to normal is thus mitigated by the fact that God’s people must reorient themselves to reflect God’s character before they can truly experience God’s blessing.
01. Our current reversal of fortune is not the first time in history where God suddenly captures our attention by removing our comforts and exposing our frailties.
02. Our future prospect of recovery is not guaranteed by history as if God is obligated to make our lives normal and return us to our privileges.
03. Our ongoing prayer for restoration is in keeping with history because God has revived His people before and promises to do so again.
Questions for Discussion and Discovery
1. Consider the numerous times in the Old Testament when God’s people choose their own way instead of following Him, starting with the Garden of Eden. What does the multitude of such examples suggest about human nature? What do we learn about the character of God through such examples?
2. How would you answer the question in verse 5: “Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations?” What biblical citations do you have to support your response?
3. How would you define revival based on verses 6-8? Is it a temporary commitment to the Lord, or is it an ongoing commitment to know the Lord better than before? How can we ensure that, having experienced the goodness of God, we do not return to our foolish ways?
4. Which attributes of God are listed in verses 10-13? What scriptures or songs come to mind as you think about these attributes? Do these attributes conflict in any way with God’s justice or wrath?
5. Note the importance of the land in this Psalm (verses 1, 9, 12) as abundant harvests and national security were signs of God’s pleasure with Israel. What indicators might we find that suggest God is pleased with His people today? How do these indicators differ from what the world might define as being blessed?
For Further Reading: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Revival (Crossway, 1987)