Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by John Nelson Darby, [1857-62], at sacred-texts.com
I have long hesitated, in reading Psalm 85, whether the first part referred to external deliverance and the grace shown in it, and the following to the causing the people to enter into the enjoyment of it by the restoration of their own souls; or, as we have seen is often the case, the statement of the great result as the theme of the psalm, and then going through the sorrows of the remnant and divine workings which led to this result. There will be a restoring work in the souls of the people after their outward deliverance. Nor do I now speak of this psalm with very great certainty on this point. On the whole, I am disposed to think that they look for their enjoyment of divine favor in it, as between themselves and God, when delivered from all their enemies, and shown to be forgiven by that deliverance. Thus the first three Verses lay this ground (Psa 85:1-3), that God has been favorable to His land, and brought back the captivity of Jacob. This was the great public truth. But in Verse 4 (Psa 85:4) the restored people have need of other blessing in the reality of their own relationship with God. "Turn us, O God of our salvation." Jehovah was the God of their salvation; but they needed His blessing in the midst of the land. They would that His people should rejoice in Him. How true this is often of the soul which knows forgiveness! It looks for Jehovah's mercy and salvation, being thus restored to Him, and listens to know what Elohim Jehovah will speak; for they reckon on mercy. He will speak peace to His people their public character and to His saints the remnant who are to enjoy it. Faith has then the certainty in every way that His salvation is nigh them that fear Him, that the glory of Jehovah may dwell in the land. The last Verses celebrate, in remarkable terms, the divine principles on which their blessings are then established. God's mercy and truth had now met. His promises, always true, had now been fulfilled by mercy. It is to be remarked that in the psalms mercy always precedes righteousness and truth. For Israel had forfeited all title to promise in rejecting the Lord had come under full guilt had no righteousness on which to lean had been concluded in unbelief, that they also might be objects of mere mercy. But then through Christ's work these promises would now be fulfilled, and mercy and truth met. But more than this. Jehovah was their righteousness, through grace; and hence that righteousness was peace for them; and that which in judgment would have been their ruin, was in grace their peace righteousness and peace kissed each other. I need hardly say how true these great principles are for any sinner for yet better and heavenly blessings; here they are applied to earthly ones. Truth shall spring out of the earth (that is, the full fruit and effect of God's truth and faithfulness shall be manifest in blessings, full blessings, on the earth). But it was not by a righteousness that man had wrought legally here below. Righteousness looked down from heaven. It was God's righteousness, Jehovah their righteousness. But this made it stable. Jehovah gives that which is good, and the land is blessed. Righteousness traces the path of blessing for Jehovah and Himself in the land His own no doubt. Still His rule shall be so characterized. A king shall reign in righteousness"no more oppression. Justice is no longer fallen in the streets, as Isa 59:14 speaks; judgment is returned to it, and the government has this character. "And the fruit of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever." This last, indeed, is practical; but it is the result of righteousness having looked down from heaven, yea, of its being established on the earth (compare Psa 72:1-7, where this state is described).