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How to Make a Fresh Start with God

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Psalms 85–87

The wonderful thing about the Psalms is that they give voice to our concerns and struggles and desires. They give us hope when we have sinned, laying the foundation for a fresh new start with the Lord. It is this spiritual revival that is at the heart of Psalms 85–87.


How to Make a Fresh Start with God

Psalms 85–87


I have heard it said that “the victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings.”[1] And I agree wholeheartedly. Now, that doesn’t mean you can lose your salvation. Someone who has been born again by faith in Christ cannot become unborn. You cannot lose your salvation, but you certainly can lose your sense of direction, your joy, and your contentment in Christ; and that calls for a new beginning.

You might call such new beginnings fresh starts. They are moments of rededication to the Lord. You also might call them revivals in your heart.

We tend to use the word revival for unbelievers becoming Christians. Well, that is not an accurate use of the word. And that is because unbelievers are spiritually dead in sin. Their spirit is dead, and you cannot revive a dead corpse.

As a believer, you are alive spiritually. But if you are in a spiritual slump or a time of disobedience or disillusionment, a reviving of your heart toward the things of the Lord becomes a new beginning for you. It’s a fresh start in your walk with the Lord.

Now here in Psalm 85, the sons of Korah are going to teach Israel—and us—how to make a fresh start as we walk with the Lord. And that fresh start always begins with confession of sin and the joy of being forgiven, as verse 2 sings here: “[Lord,] you forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin.”

Following confession and forgiveness, the psalm goes on in verse 4 to say, “Restore us again, O God of our salvation”; then in verse 6, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?”

Those words bring to mind that old hymn of the faith I learned as a young child, written by Dr. William Mackay:

Revive us again, fill each heart with Thy love.
May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory,
Hallelujah! Amen!
Hallelujah! Thine the glory,
Revive us again.[2]

In other words, “Lord, today is a day of rededication to You, a day of new beginnings. Let’s make a fresh start as we walk with You today.”

Now the next psalm is a compilation of several psalms. In fact, nearly every verse in Psalm 86 is taken from another psalm. David is so saturated with the Word of God that it just comes out here in his prayer to the Lord. He demonstrates what it takes to make a fresh start in your walk with God.

You cannot have a close relationship with God if you have a casual relationship with God’s Word. Do you want to walk with God today? Then your traveling companion needs to be the Word of God.

When we come to Psalm 87, there is a promise—a prophetic promise—to those who have been born again. You are not only going to walk with God through life, but you are also going to walk with Him in a future kingdom life—and then on into eternal life.

This psalm is a song of joy for those who have believed in the Messiah. It actually connects back with Psalm 86, where verse 9 reads, “All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.”

The believing nations will be ushered into Jerusalem to worship the Messiah who sits on His throne in His glorious millennial kingdom. This still future reality is what is celebrated in Psalm 87. Revelation 20:6 tells us that every believer today will reign with Christ in that coming, thousand-year kingdom Christ establishes following the tribulation period, when the Lord returns to earth.

So, who has a right to live in this kingdom? Who gets the incredible privilege of having a new beginning in this glorious kingdom on earth?

Not just anybody can get in. Three times the psalmist tells us that only those born in this city, in Zion, are given the right to live in this kingdom. Being “born in Zion” is a figurative way of saying they are redeemed—they have been born into the family of God.

John the apostle wrote in John 1:12, “To all who did receive him [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” If you have been born again—born into the family of God by faith in Christ—you are royalty, beloved. There is a kingdom—and a crown—in your future!

So, who is getting into this kingdom? The psalmist says again here in Psalm 87:5, “This one and that one [who] were born in her”—that is, as citizens of the kingdom. Then again in verse 6, “The Lord records as he registers the peoples, ‘This one was born there.’”

By faith in Christ, you have actually been registered as a citizen in the coming kingdom. The apostle Paul wrote to the believers living in the city of Ephesus these words:

You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. (Ephesians 2:19)

But even if you are a citizen of that coming kingdom—even if you have been born again, brought to life spiritually—you still might need reviving today. Perhaps you need a fresh start and a new beginning in your walk today.

The best thing you can do is remember your salvation and your gracious, merciful Savior and get the Bible back off the shelf and into your life as you walk with God today.

That’s exactly what happened to the author of that hymn I mentioned earlier entitled, “Revive Us Again.” William Mackay had made a profession of faith as he grew up in a godly home in Scotland during the 1800s. His mother had given him a Bible when he was a young man, writing in the flyleaf her desire that he consistently walk with the Lord.

At the age of seventeen, William headed off to the University of Edinburgh to study medicine. His studies went well, but his spiritual life suffered. In fact, in need of some quick money, he pawned off that Bible his mother had given him.

Several years later, a brick layer was brought into the emergency room, where Mackay was working. He had fallen off a tall scaffold and was seriously injured. Dr. Mackay attended to him and determined he had no hope of survival. He asked the young man if there were any family members nearby to notify. He said, “No, Dr. Mackay, but would you notify my landlady and ask her to bring me my Bible.”

Over the next several days, this young man could be seen reading his Bible, sometimes falling asleep, hugging it to his chest. As expected, not long after, he passed away. Dr. Mackay went into the young man’s room to fill out the death certificate, and he happened to look over at the Bible.

It seemed vaguely familiar. He opened it, and he couldn’t believe what he saw. He rushed from the room with the Bible, sat down in his office and opened it to the flyleaf. There it was—his mother’s own handwriting! This was the Bible she had given him as a college student. He was immediately convicted of his prodigal heart; and right there in his office, Dr. William Mackay had a new beginning. He repented of his sin against his Lord, and he had a revival, a new beginning.[3]

Let me ask you, Do you need to be born again today by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Or if you are a Christian, do you need to have your fellowship with the Lord restored as you turn back toward, and tune back in, to the Word of God?

Do whatever you need to do right now. Make everything right between you and God.

[1] George Morrison, quoted in Alexander Maclaren, “The Psalms,” in The Expositor’s Bible: Psalms to Isaiah, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (S.S. Scranton Co., 1903), 219.

[2] William Mackay, “Revive Us Again.”

[3] Jerry Vargo, “Hymn History: Revive Us Again,” Enjoying the Journey,

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