Tuesday, September 06, 2022

2022.09.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 66

Read Psalm 66

Questions from the Scripture text: Into whose hands was this Psalm committed (superscript)? How does the Psalm describe itself? What is the first command (Psalm 66:1)? What kind of shout? To Whom? By whom (cf. Psalm 66:4Psalm 66:8)?  What is the command in Psalm 66:2a? What should be sung out? What are they to make glorious (verse 2b)? To Whom are they to speak (Psalm 66:3a)? What are they to say (verse 3b)? What specific work has demonstrated this (verse 3c–d)? Who will do what three things in Psalm 66:4? What does Psalm 66:5a command/invite them to do in the midst of this praise? Toward whom have these works been aimed (verse 5b)? What event is an example of this (Psalm 66:6a–b)? What will we do when we “visit” such events in song (verse 6c)? What does God do (Psalm 66:7a)? By what? For how long? What does He do (verse 7b)? As He does this, what do His people  pray and sing against (verse 7c)? Who are to do what in Psalm 66:8a? Whose God is He? At what are they to aim as they praise (verse 8b)? For what work of God (Psalm 66:9a)? And what other (verse 9b)? And what other (Psalm 66:10)? How did He test and refine them (Psalm 66:11-12)? Through this, into what did He bring them out (Psalm 66:12c)? Who will go where in Psalm 66:13a? With what? To do what (verse 13b)? When did the worshiper vow to do this (Psalm 66:14)? What offerings (Psalm 66:15a)? With what effects (verse 15b)? Of what cost/amount (verse 15c)? What two things does this worshiper want others to do (Psalm 66:16a)? Which others? What will the worshiper do (verse 16b)? What had the worshiper done with his mouth (Psalm 66:17a)? And what with his tongue (verse 17b)? What mustn’t the worshiper’s relation to iniquity be (Psalm 66:18a)? Why not (verse 18b)? But has verse 18b happened (Psalm 66:19a)? What happened instead (verse 19a–b)? How does the worshiper respond (Psalm 66:20a)? To what specifically in verse 20b? And what else (verse 20c)?

How should believers respond to deliverance? Psalm 66 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twenty verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that when a believer realizes that his deliverance from trouble is fruit of deliverance from sin and part of God’s mighty, redemptive work of a multitude from all the nations, he wishes for all the redeemed to join him in praising God in public worship.

It's not until Psalm 66:14 that we learn the occasion for the Psalm. The worshiper had been in trouble, and as he cried for help with his mouth (Psalm 66:17a), his lips uttered a vow to offer sacrifices in public worship (Psalm 66:14a), and his tongue extolled (praised) God (Psalm 66:17b). This imagery—mouth, lips, tongue—brings us into the moment. The theology of the Psalm declares to us what the Holy Spirit taught him by/about this moment.

God is eliminating rebellion. Yes, the Lord is humbling rebels (Psalm 66:7c) and subduing enemies (Psalm 66:3d). But, He sometimes does so by changing enemies into servants. The Psalmist the Lord’s work in his own life (Psalm 66:18-19) as something that He has done for His people as a whole (Psalm 66:10-12). The Psalmist grows in assurance, because though he has remaining sin, he is not its friend (Psalm 66:18a) but its enemy. And the Lord, who has made this change in him listens to his voice (Psalm 66:19). The Psalmist knows that God tests His people by suffering (Psalm 66:10a, 1Psalm 66:11-12b) in order to refine them (Psalm 66:10b) and bring them out into abundance (Psalm 66:12c). 

God is provoking praise. The beginning of the Psalm has the worshiper urging all the earth (Psalm 66:1Psalm 66:4, cp. “you peoples” in Psalm 66:8) to praise God. That’s the final and eternal installment of something that had its preview in Israel’s Exodus (Psalm 66:5-6). But notice verse 6c: when we remember/sing the Lord’s doing this, it’s as if we are right there rejoicing in Him. The believer wants all who fear God (Psalm 66:16a) to praise Him for the good done to one soul (verse 16b). How much more, when we come to praise Him for the good done to a multitude of souls. Looking forward to that praise is how the Psalm opens in Psalm 66:1-2, urging us all to praise that is glad (“joyful”), intense (“shout”), and weighty (“honor”/”glorious”). 

After the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ, we mayn’t bring many, expensive animal sacrifices. Instead, we offer to God spiritual sacrifice, Christ’s-blood-bought souls lifted up in prayer and praise and submission. Let us vow to give Him such, in the midst of the assembly, with joy, intensity, and gravitas!

What trouble has the Lord brought you into/through recently? What is His purpose in His work in you? What response does He want from you? In what circumstance, especially, should you give it?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You have tested and refined us and shown Your work in us. How awesome are Your works toward the sons of men, whom You convert from rebels to worshipers. You have heard our prayers; now receive our praise. And grant that by Your Spirit, our praise would be joyful, intense, and weighty, which we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP66B “O All You Peoples, Bless Our God” or TPH66B “Come, All Ye People, Bless Our God”

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