Psalm 85 is loaded with emotion. God has fierce anger and displeasure due to the sins of His people. I feel a little uncomfortable and even disheartened reading this Psalm. I get a sense of how the Israelites must have felt. I feel they didn’t have the full hope we truly have today. They were doing continual sacrifices for their sins and never had a sense that their sins were forgiven once and for all. The Israelites probably felt they could lose their salvation if they messed up, as verse 7 seems to suggest: “…grant us your salvation.”
As believers living on this side of the cross, we have such a better hope. We see Jesus, the final sacrifice that ended all the centuries of sacrifices that couldn’t take away sins. We have the Holy Spirit, given as a promise that we are saved and can never lose our salvation by messing up. We don’t have to keep the commandments of Christ, but we get to. We serve in a new way, not by the letter of the Law but by the Spirit. I am truly glad to have been born on this side of the manger, the teachings of Jesus, the cross, and the empty tomb.