Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thanks for Trial that Purifies

[To the chief Musician, A Song or Psalm]

1 Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:

2 Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.

3 Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.

4 All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.

5 Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men.

6 He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him.

7 He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.

8 O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard:

9 Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.

10 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.

11 Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.

12 Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

13 I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows,

14 Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble.

15 I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.

16 Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.

17 I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue.

18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.

20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.

—Psalm 66 KJV Bible

The psalm is in celebration of a national deliverance. The psalmist calls all the people of the earth to praise God and, representing Israel, the psalmist offers sacrifice and praise and encourages the people to pray and praise.

This psalm recalls the events surrounding God’s deliverance of the descendants of Israel from bondage in Egypt and God’s leading them to His promised land, which was renamed Israel. This deliverance is recalled annually by the Jews in the feast of the Passover. Many think this psalm was composed for a special Passover which followed God’s saving the Kingdom of Judah from the army of the Assyrians. In 701 BC, during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah, King Sennacherib of Assyria attacked Jerusalem. Judah was saved from Assyria by a plague which afflicted Sennacherib’s army (2 Kings 18:13-19:37).

The Hebrew "selah" is used in verses 4, 7 and 15 of the psalm. The word is thought to be a musical notation to the choir director and musicians. It loosely translates as a break in the song or an instruction to pause and reflect, perhaps with a musical interlude. Some translators suggest the phrase "stop and listen." Others say that a more concise translation would be "let those with eyes see and with ears hear." The word "selah" has been compared to the word "amen" in that it stresses to the listener the importance of the preceding passage. The word "selah" is used in thirty-nine of the psalms.

In verses 1 through 12, the psalmist calls all the people of the earth to praise God. Their praise must be such that it will glorify and honor God. Everyone—even those that do not worship God—should acknowledge that the works of God are wondrous and awesome. The psalmist foresees that someday all the people of the earth will worship and sing praises to God. The psalmist invites the listener to consider the works that God has already done. The psalmist notes God’s parting of the sea (Exodus 14:21), symbolic of all of God’s works in delivering the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt. The psalmist acknowledges that God’s rule is eternal and that He watches over all, including the righteous and the wicked. The psalmist encourages the people to praise God and to make their praise loud enough for all to hear. The psalmist also acknowledges God’s protection; keeping His people sure-footed and out of danger. God has given the people a challenge and they have been proven and refined by God’s testing. God allowed the people to be caught in the net of their enemies, thereby forcing the people to evaluate what was right and what was important. God then placed leaders over the people to guide them through the extremes of “fire” and “water” until they came to a place of great abundance.

In verses 13 through 15, the psalmist, representing Israel, offers sacrifice and praise. The psalmist agrees to bring “vows,” or votive offerings to God because of the favor God has shown on His people. The offerings are to fulfill the promise made to God by the psalmist when he was in trouble. The psalmist will bring many burnt offerings and cause the smoke to ascend to God much in the same way that the smoke of incense is offered to God (incense is symbolic of prayers to God).

In verses 16 through 20, the psalmist encourages the people to prayer and praise. The psalmist invites the people to listen as he shares what God has done for him. The psalmist called to God and praised Him. The psalmist then confessed his sin so that God could forgive him and hear the psalmist’s prayer for help. God did hear and the psalmist praised God for not taking away God’s everlasting, faithful, covenant love (the Hebrew “hesed”).

Father, I understand that You permit me to pass through trial in order to refine me; to make me better for You. Help me to keep focus on You during the process. And remind me to thank and praise You at its completion.


No comments:

Post a Comment