Turn Again

(or The Kiss of *Peace)

Psalm 85

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 85

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Gordon Churchyard

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A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

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Jesus said, "My *peace I give to you". (John 14: 27)

Psalm 85

  (This is) for the music leader.
(It is) a psalm of the sons of *Korah.

v1   *LORD, you were good to your land.
  You *turned the fortunes of *Jacob.

v2   You *forgave the *sin of your people
  and you *pardoned the things that they did wrong.

v3   You were not angry with them any more
  and you turned away from your *fury.

v4   (But now) turn us (again), God.
  (You are the God) that makes us safe.
  Stop being so angry with us.

v5   Will you be angry with us for ever?
  Will you always be *furious with us?

v6   Will you not turn to us (again) and give us new life?
  Then your people will be happy and *praise you.

v7   *LORD, show us your kind love!
  Give to us the help that makes us safe!

v8   I will listen to what God the *LORD is saying.
  He will give *peace to his people, to his *saints.
  But they must not turn back to become fools.

v9   Certainly he will make safe those that obey him.
  Then his *glory will remain in our land.

v10   Kind love will meet *loyalty.
  *Goodness and *peace will kiss each other.

v11   *Loyalty will grow (like a plant) in the ground
  and *goodness will look down from the *heavens.

v12   Yes! The *LORD will give what is good
  and our land will give much fruit.

v13   *Goodness will go before him
  and make a way for his feet.

The Story of Psalm 85

Many Bible students think that Psalm 85 comes from about 520 BC. BC means "years Before Christ came to the earth". This was just after the *Jews came back from their *exile in Babylon.

God was angry with his people. They had not obeyed him. So he let the King of Babylon beat them and take them to Babylon. He destroyed Jerusalem. After 70 years, the king of Persia beat the king of Babylon. Cyrus, the King of Persia, sent the *Jews back to Jerusalem and the places near it. This is what verses 1-3 are about. But, a few years after they returned to Jerusalem, things were bad. They had not built Godís house (the *temple) again. There was not much rain so there was not much fruit in the fields. This meant that there was not much food. Also, some enemies attacked them. So they thought that God was still angry with them! They asked for his help to make things better, verses 4-7. Someone gave them Godís answer, verses 8-13.

What Psalm 85 means

"The sons of *Korah" was the name of a music group. In Psalm 85, there is one word that comes 5 times. It is "turn" or "turned". Each time it means something a bit different:

    "turned the fortunes", verse 1, is a *Hebrew way to say "changed things from bad to good, or good to bad". In English, we would say "their luck changed". Christians do not believe in luck. Luck means "things just happen". Christians believe that God decides what happens, as in this verse: "You (God) *turned the fortunes of *Jacob". *Jacob is a name for Godís people.

    "you turned away from your *fury", verse 3. This means that God was not *furious (or very, very angry) with his people any more.

    "turn us, God" in verse 4 is where the psalm makes its first change. They thought that God was angry again, so they ask God to turn them. Sometimes when people become Christians, we say that they become "converted". This is a word that means "turned". They turn from doing what they want to do and do what God wants them to do. That is what this verse means.

    "turn to us again" in verse 6 is about God turning. Godís people pray that God will stop looking away, and turn to look at them. This is another way to say "send us help".

    "they must not turn back", in verse 8, means they must not go back and do bad things all the time. This is the second place where the psalm changes. Now it is about the good things that will happen if Godís people will obey him.

There are several important words in this psalm:

    "*forgave" and "*pardoned" in verse 2. Maybe both words meant "excused" in 520 BC, but to Christians "*forgave" is a very special word that means more than "excused". When God *forgives us he gives our *sin (all the bad things that we do) to Jesus. When he died, Jesus took our *sin away. So we are not only excused; it is just as if we had never done those bad things! God *punished Jesus for our *sin!

    "kind love" in verse 10 is a special love that God has for people. It is a love that does not stop. People that accept this kind love become Godís people. We could call them "kind-loved" but this is not a word English people use. It is in the *Hebrew of verse 8, where I have translated it "*saints".

    "*loyalty" in verse 10 is very like the "kind love" in the same verse. It is being a friend, or a servant and not stopping whatever happens. In this verse, God gives the kind love, and his people give him their *loyalty. He does not stop loving them and they do not stop being his friends and servants whatever happens.

    A better way to translate "*goodness" in verse 10 is by the word "*righteousness". "*Goodness" means "being good"; but "*righteousness" means "being *righteous". Now only God is really *righteous, always doing what is right. God wants his people to be like him, *righteous.

    "*Peace" in verse 10 means more than "not fighting" or "no war". It translates the *Hebrew word "shalom". It is a *peace that only God can give. With this *peace, you know that you are friends with God and it makes you very, very happy. Bible students think that when *goodness kisses *peace it means this: people that accept the *peace of God become good (or *righteous). They become *like God.

In verse 12, "much fruit" means more than apples and things *like that. It means all the plants that we grow for food. There had not been much of them, because there was not much rain. But now things would change! The last verse, verse 13, is very interesting. It tells us that God would walk on the earth! This happened when Jesus came, 520 years later. Many Bible students think that all the last part of the psalm is about Jesus. Because Jesus was the *Messiah, they call verses 9-13 the messianic part of the psalm.

Something to do

Here are some verses from the *New Testament of the Bible. Which verse or verses of Psalm 85 does each one make you think about?

1) Luke 2:14. *Glory to God in the *heavens, and *peace to his *saints on earth.

2) John 1:14. The Word became a man and lived with us and we saw his *glory. (The Word is one of Jesusí Bible names.)

3) Romans 5:1. Because we have been made *righteous through faith, we have *peace with God through our *Lord Jesus Christ. (Faith means that we accept the kind love of God.)

4) Matthew 1:21. Jesus will save his people from their *sins.

Word List

Adonai ~ *Lord or master; (or better, my *Lord or my master) in *Hebrew.

anointed ~ with (*olive) oil poured on.

church ~ all those people that believe all about Jesus.

covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the covenant.

exile ~ away from your own country.

forgive ~ take away the results of *sin. (But look in the notes on Psalm 85:2).

furious ~ very, very angry.

fury ~ what you feel when you are very, very angry.

glory ~ something that shines very much, maybe *heaven: God has glory because his *righteousness shines from inside him.

goodness ~ what makes people do good things.

heaven ~ the home of God.

heavens ~ the skies or the home of God.

Hebrew ~ the language that the *Jews spoke when they wrote the Psalms of David.

holy ~ very, very good; only God is really holy, the land where he lives with his people is also holy because he is there.

Jacob ~ another name for Israel, both the people and the land. (Jacob was Abrahamís grandson).

Jehovah ~ how some languages say *Yahweh, one of the names of God in *Hebrew.

Jew ~ someone who was born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

Korah ~ look in the Introduction in Book 3 of the Psalms of David.

like ~ another word for "as".

Lord ~ a name for God; it means he has authority, or "master"; *Adonai in *Hebrew. Look also at *LORD below.

LORD ~ a special name for God that his people use. It is the *covenant name of God. In *Hebrew it is *Yahweh or *Jehovah. Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the names of God.

loyalty ~ being a friend, or a servant and not stopping, whatever happens.

Messiah ~ in the *Old Testament, the *anointed king. In the *New Testament, Jesus. The word messiah is *Hebrew for *anointed.

New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus. It is about the things that Jesus did and taught and about the church [see church].

Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible; the *holy things that the writers wrote before Christís birth.

olive ~ a fruit.

pardoned ~ *forgave, or excused (but look in the notes for Psalm 85:2).

peace ~ when we are friends with God and with other people; or, when we have no trouble in our minds; or, when there is no war and everybody is happy.

praise ~ say how great somebody is; or, words that say how great someone is.

punish ~ hurt someone because they have not obeyed the rules.

righteous ~ very good (only God is really righteous). God says that the people that love and obey him are righteous. Sometimes we say that they are "the righteous", meaning "righteous people". Look after Psalm 5 in Book 1 of The Psalms of David for more about the word "righteous".

righteousness ~ what you have when you are *righteous.

saints ~ people that have received Godís love, his people.

sin ~ not obeying God, or what you do when you do not obey God.

temple ~ a place where people meet to *worship God.

turned the fortunes ~ change things (look in the notes on Psalm 85:1).

worship ~ tell someone that they are very great and that you love them.

Yahweh ~ the *covenant name for God. Most Bibles translate it *LORD with 4 capital letters. It means something *like "I am" or "always alive".

 

© 2001-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

January 2002

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