Psalm 14: Restores

Ps 14:7, “Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores His captive people, Israel will rejoice, Israel will be glad.

Restores. Cars are the first thing that come to my mind. At one time it was brand new. Not a scratch. Not a single rust spot or dent. Spotless. Pristine. In mint condition. But time took it’s toll. As the years passed mileage and abuse added up. That which was once new is now old. The shine has faded into stains and blemishes. Parts are broken and missing. On the verge of being junked it stands there in desperate need of a little attention from someone who sees treasure where others can only see trash. All it would take is a few repairs. A new paint job. Some hard work. A little elbow grease. A willingness to see beyond what is to what could be. Such is the nature of restoration.

The word “restores” is one of my favorite words in the entire Bible. And if repetition is any indication of popularity, God must really like the word. Remember the word we studied back in Psalm 12? Disappear? We said that it appears only once in the OT. This word “restores?” It shows up 1,117 times in 952 different verses. Yeah, I think that God likes the idea of restoration to say the least. And perhaps, just perhaps, (I mean, seriously, over 1,100 uses is quite a bit) He is trying to remind us of something very important regarding His nature, His character and the way in which He interacts with His people.

Restoration when properly understood can be compared to a two-sided coin. You know. One side heads. The other side tails. Opposite sides of the same coin. Inseparable. You can’t have one without the other. Such is the nature of restoration. In it’s simplest sense, the word is referring to something that is being or is “turned back and/or away.” Think about the car again. What is really happening when someone begins the process of restoring an old, beat up, broken down jalopy? They are turning away the effects of time. Rust is being removed. The wear and tear associated with usage is being removed. Torn upholstery is pulled out. In other words, that which is corrupting, that which has been damaged is removed. After that, the old is replaced with new. A fresh coat of paint. New parts. New upholstery. Understand the two-fold process? Out with the old. In with the new. Restoration involves both.

In Psalm 14 David is bemoaning once again the current state of affairs in his country. The kingdom has broken down. Foolish men who denounce God’s authority have risen to positions of power and prominence. They are corrupt. They are abominable. Ignorant of their folly, these wicked men take advantage of God’s people. Listen to David’s own description. “…who eat up my people as they eat up bread,…” The picture the opening verses paint is not very good. It is a hard time, one filled with dangers, difficulties and the threat of despair. But in the face of such desperate circumstances David remains steadfast in his faith. He is confident that restoration is coming. Very soon the day will arrive when God will turn away the affliction and the captivity of God’s people. In fact, the literal rendering in the Hebrew is that God will “restore the fortunes of His people.” That which has been taken will be returned. That which was lost will be found. That which was forfeit and stolen will be reclaimed. The corrupt and the broken will be cast out and thrown away. The new is coming. God will intervene and restore His people.

Now, here’s the best part to me. Look at the one small word there at the beginning of the last sentence. “When the Lord restores His captive people,…” Not if. Not maybe. Not by chance. Not perhaps. Not by some twist of luck. Nope. The sentence says, “WHEN!!!” Restoration is God’s promise. The old, the broken down, the corrupt, the damaged? None of those things will remain. None of those things will survive. Restoration is going to happen. It’s not a question of “if.” It’s just a matter of “when.” Our God is all about restoration. Our first experience when we come to Him is out with the old and in with the new (2 Cor 5:17). Even now He sits on the throne of heaven making all things new (Rev 21:5). What we see as trash He sees as treasure. He redeems us in our brokenness and failings. He restores us despite our fallen humanity and sinful proclivities. I don’t know about you but I’ve got to agree with David. See, I was that car. Broken down. The shine of my youthful ambitions having faded away in the heat of life. Seemingly beyond repair and without any value or worth. But then my Jesus came along. And what no one else wanted, He loved and purchased with His blood. And now, He is restoring me. So much of the old life is gone. So much that is new has come into my life. And it’s all because God loves to restore.Yep. David was right. I am glad. And I will rejoice. God is restoring me.