Read Psalm 66
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!
When reading this psalm in its original language, it is full of exclamatory words. The psalmist is suggesting loud, joyful shouts of praise to God – a type of praise that is overflowing from a heart so full that it cannot keep it in. It is thought that this psalm was written after a battle victory, so imagine a post-game locker room speech after a huge win against your biggest rival. It is not quiet. Come and listen! Did you see what God did? Did you see how awesome He was? Tell Him! Sing to Him, SHOUT it! All of you, both Jew and Gentile. Everyone in all the earth, shout joyfully and offer Him praise, because His power is great and His victory is ours!
The author’s heart was overflowing with this exuberance, because he knew who God was and what God could do and what God had done. He was the God that caused their enemies to submit in worship (v. 3-4). He was the God that parted the Red Sea and allowed His people to escape death. He was the God that stopped the Jordan River to allow them to pass into the Promised Land (v. 6). He was also the God that often allowed His people to be tested, but never defeated. The author knew of Abraham and Isaac and of the wanderings in the desert. But he also knew that the purpose of God’s testing was refinement, not destruction (v. 10, Zechariah 13:9). He was the God that brought them through fire and water to a place of abundance (v. 12).
On this side of history, we know that He is also the God that rolls away stones and defeats death. Even when we are being tested and it feels as if defeat is sure, He is the God that brings us through the fire. He does not leave us there. He is still the same God that parted the waters and brought His people through. As Spurgeon says, “The prowess displayed at the Red Sea is undiminished, the divine dominion endures throughout eternity.”
Psalm 66 reminds us that God’s love is enduring. It is an invitation to come and listen, to remember who God is and what He has done for us. To remember that He hears our prayers and does not turn His back on us. He is worthy of loud, exuberant, joyful praise! He refines us, He protects us, He will bring us through. His power is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Praise God!
- If you are in a time of trial right now, how can you still praise God for His certain deliverance?
- What kinds of difficult situations has God brought you through? Spend time praising Him for His faithfulness.
- Who needs to hear your joyful praises today? Think of someone who might need to be reminded of God’s faithfulness and reach out to them.