I would certainly think that most of you have seen the commercial that has been on for quite a number of years now that features a guy who is really excited about his new basement. He is so happy that he attempts to get a whole variety of people to look at it – beginning with the mailman, then with a woman named “Jill” who is jogging down the street, and finally with his next door neighbor as they are both cutting grass on riding mowers.
The writer in Psalm 66 that we look at today sort of reminds of this commercial guy in terms of his enthusiasm. The Psalmist wants everyone to see and hear how great God has been and how thankful the writer is for the deliverance and subsequent blessings he has received.
Verses 1-12 talk about God’s goodness to the nation, and then verses 13-20 turn to a personal expression of thanksgiving and praise.
As we have seen in our devotional series over and over, the big event in Israel’s history that spoke of the power of God over the nations was the deliverance of the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt. And especially recalled from that event was the opening of the sea in order that the nation may pass through.
If you were from another nation at that time, and you heard and knew of this sort of power of the God of Israel, it was a frightening prospect to come up against these people. And the writer says that the nations should indeed (as in verse 3) “cringe” before God and acknowledge his grandeur.
But God’s love and care for the nation was not limited to just doing great things for Israel because of his covenant love, God also disciplined them upon their times of failure to trust and obey. But in the end, he was always faithful, and the writer was excited to talk about what could be seen in that history and relationship between the Lord and his chosen people.
But the Psalm takes a turn at verse 13 and become more reflexive and personal, as the writer recalls an event (specifically unknown) where he was in a very bad place. He cried to the Lord in that condition and made vows as to what he would do upon his rescue.
And sure enough, God was faithful and came through for the writer; and in response, he was going to fulfill his vows. In fact, he essentially says that even if he were to offer every type of animal commonly used in the sacrificial system, it would still be insufficient to express his gratitude and praise.
So are you thankful and excited about anything good that God has done in your life? Do you really desire everyone around you to know how God has blessed you and helped you through some difficulty or severe problem? I am pretty sure it would not hurt us as a church to be a bit more expressive together about our thanksgiving and praise.
For the director of music. A song. A psalm.
1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
2 Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious.
3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.
4 All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name.”
5 Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!
6 He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot—come, let us rejoice in him.
7 He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations—let not the rebellious rise up against him.
8 Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard;
9 he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.
13 I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you—
14 vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble.
15 I will sacrifice fat animals to you and an offering of rams; I will offer bulls and goats.
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.
20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!