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The A-Q-A Formula of Psalm 85

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


Psalm 85 is a short psalm of only 13 verses attributed to the Sons of Korah. All ten include Psalms 42, 44-49, 84, 85, 87, and 88.

Psalm 85 is about the return of the Israelites from Babylonian captivity.


If you read Psalm 85 carefully, you will clearly see that there is an A-Q-A Formula that the psalmist used. We can use that same formula.

Psalm 85 is one of those psalms to read when you can't decide what else to read. That psalm shows how to use the A-Q-A Formula for comfort, peace, and hope for the future. Psalm 85 will take you immediately from an uneasy spirit to a peaceful spirit.



Read Psalm 85:1-3. The psalmist ACKNOWLEDGES what God has for them in the PAST. He is thankful for favor, forgiveness, and restoration.

LORD, You have been favorable to Your land;
You have brought back the captivity of Jacob.
You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people;
You have covered all their sin.

First, the psalmist is grateful that God has cared for Israel, His land while His people were in exile.

Secondly, the psalmist is thankful that God brought them back from the Babylonian captivity.

Thirdly, the psalmist acknowledges that God has forgiven their iniquity.

These verses encourage us to remember what God has done for Israel so long ago with the assurance that He does the same things for us today. Keep in mind that the psalm is not about deliverance from personal sin. Instead, the emphasis of the psalm is on corporate and national sin.



Read Psalm 85:4-7 to find out that it is all right to QUESTION God about your PRESENT situation.

Restore us, O God of our salvation,
And cause Your anger toward us to cease.
Will You be angry with us forever?
Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?

Will You not revive us again,
That Your people may rejoice in You?
Show us Your mercy, LORD,
And grant us Your salvation.

The second part of the formula is a prayer for restoration mixed with a series of questions about continued God's favor. During the prayer, the psalmist asks God if His righteous anger and all His wrath continue to all generations. In other words, has God's anger that had been great passed away for good.

This section concludes with the psalmist praying for God to show them His mercy and grant them His salvation.



Read Psalm 85:8-13. ACCEPT whatever FUTURE God lays out for His people.

I will hear what God the LORD will speak,
For He will speak peace
To His people and to His saints;
But let them not turn back to folly.
Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.

In the last section of Psalm 85, the psalmist expresses acceptance to whatever God says knowing He will speak peace to His people. Then he prays that God's people will not turn back to the way they used to live in sin.

The psalmist could accept what God would speak because he was confident of God's goodness and that God would speak peace to those who had surrendered their lives to Him.

The humbled and surrendered people of God could enjoy the nearness of His salvation as He moves among them in the land. Because of that relationship, the people would be able the enjoy four things: God's mercy, truth, righteousness, and peach.

Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
And righteousness shall look down from heaven.
Yes, the LORD will give what is good;
And our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before Him,
And shall make His footsteps our pathway.


Read Psalm 85 now and begin to use the A-Q-A Formula. You will find that God is the God of your past, present, and future. When you use the A-Q-A Formula, you will be in the position to do three things:

  1. You will acknowledge God's faithfulness towards you.
  2. You will be able to question God about His plans for you.
  3. Then you will be able to accept what God has for you in your future.

Try the A-Q-A Formula outlined in Psalm 85 and see how "God's footsteps will be your pathway" (Psalm 85:13).