Patient One, blow on the embers of my hope. Bring hope alive in me. May my praise be worthy of You.
Read Psalm 66:1-20
For the director of music. A song. A psalm.
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Praise be to God who has not rejected my prayer…” (20). What a confidence-boosting statement. In all situations let’s make prayer our first choice and not our last chance!
Joy, thanks, and praise are the notes that frame this psalm. This joyful praise is focused on what God has done (3,5). In the Old Testament context, God’s awesome deeds are supremely encapsulated in delivering Israel from Egypt (6). For Christians, the Exodus remains part of our story, although now our primary focus is on what God has done through Jesus in his life, death, and resurrection. But if we have more than the psalmist had for which to thank God, that makes it all the more important that we really do thank God for all he has done, and never take for granted what has been given to us.
The psalmist also gives thanks for recent events, specifically a time of testing which involved great suffering and affliction, but which has led eventually to a resonant “place of abundance” (8-12). Divine testing is a recurrent biblical theme, and the comparison to the refining of silver helps us to understand its dynamics. Metal naturally comes with many impurities which need to be removed through subjection to intense heat. When this has been done, the metal becomes most strong and serviceable. So, too, it is with human lives. The process of refining our impurities will rarely feel welcome; the imagery of people “riding over our heads” is suggestively awful. Yet the patient enduring of such hardship leads to abundance, as we become the people God intends us to be. Then the offering of worship becomes a joy (13-15).
Finally, the psalmist recalls what the Lord has done in answer to prayer (16-20). It is not just what God has done for the world and for his people for which we praise him, but our own personal testimony will, please God, be one of acknowledging and celebrating what the Lord has done specifically for us.
Do you feel God is testing you (10)? How? Why? What “abundant place” (12b) do you hope for?
Lord, please purify my heart and mind, so that I may live more faithfully and walk more closely with You.
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