Psalms 65-67

Let’s turn in our Bibles now to the sixty-fifth psalm. This psalm is addressed to the chief musician. It is a psalm and a song of David. It is a song of praise for God’s bountiful harvest. So really it’s a song that has been associated, as far as the church is concerned, with thanksgiving, giving thanks unto God for his provision in the abundance of the harvest. There are many things in this psalm for which David gives praise and so the first line of the first verse really sets the tone for the entire psalm.
PRAISE waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: (65:1).
In the Hebrew there is the idea of the people waiting before the Lord in silence as they are ready to burst forth in praise. It is the assembled congregation standing there in silence before God as they are contemplating the marvelous works of God and are ready to burst forth in praise.
and unto thee shall the vow be performed (65:1).
Now he praises God, first of all, because God hears our prayers.
O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come (65:2).
When you really stop to think about it, as you look at the vastness of this universe in which we live and as you look at the miracle of life and the life forms, you realize that there is a God so great as to created this entire universe and all of the life forms within it that that God should hear my prayer is an awesome thing. So the first cause for praise is that God hears our prayers. That is really a cause for praise and thanksgiving to think that God will hear the prayers of us, as insignificant as we are and yet he hears our prayers.
Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge [wash] them away (65:3).
The second cause for prayer is that God washes away our transgressions. Living in this body which is opposed to the spirit, that’s probably weak, living in this body which is in rebellion against the spirit since we are not subject to the law of God we are opposed and in rebellion to the law of God and surrounded as we are by iniquity, so often yielding to the flesh rather than to the spirit, yet God washes away our transgressions. The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s son, cleanses us and washes us from all sin. again a real cause for praise, that washing and that cleansing of my transgressions.
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, (65:4).
The next cause for praise is that God chose me. He chooses those who he causes to approach him. Jesus one day said to his disciples, “You have not chosen me but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should be my disciples”. We are chosen by God. When Paul, in Ephesians chapter one, begins to list all of the spiritual blessings that we have in Christ in heavenly places. Paul said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Ephesians 1:3). As he starts to think about all of God’s blessings the very first and at the top of his list is that he has chosen us Christ before the foundations of the world. Paul looked at that as one of the greatest blessings that I have is the fact that God chose me in Christ before the foundations of the world. A marvelous thing to realize that God in his love chose me to follow him. Having chosen me he called me, having called me he has washed me and he has made me a Son of God through my faith in Jesus Christ. “Blessed is the man whom you have chosen” (65:4).
A lot of people have difficulty with the fact that God chooses those who are to follow him to serve him. I personally don’t have any difficulty with that. I think that God should have the right of choice for those who are going to spend eternity with him. You have the choice of who you are going to spend this life with. God gave you that choice and I think we all appreciate the fact that we have that choice. God just didn’t dump someone on you and say, “Take that” but you have the choice. When he asked you if you would you have the choice to say I wont or I will. If we respect the fact and appreciate the fact that we have the choice of who we are going to spend this life with, how much more should God have the privilege of who he’s going to spend eternity with.
People fault God for that because the indication would be that God has also chosen those who would not be able to spend eternity with him. Where the problem rises is in our fact, the fact that we cannot understand how God thinks. We have limited understanding. We make our choices and then we pray, “O Lord, I hope this is the right choice” and we are not always sure, we don’t know the outcome. Have you ever chosen something that later on you wished you had not? Have you not chosen something that later on you wished had? “If I had only known” my choices probably would’ve been different in many things in life, not in marriage. I’ll stick with that one as long as I live. In many things in life I would have made different choices had I only known. God doesn’t have that problem because he knows. He knows before he ever chooses what the outcome of the choice will be. Thus he chooses on the basis of his knowledge, his foreknowledge of what the outcome would be.
Having that kind of foreknowledge, being privy to that kind of information, would alter your choices tremendously. I cannot think of how it would be to think if I knew everything. Do you have to think if you know everything? I don’t know of what kind of thought processes you have when you know everything. Think of what you could do at Santa Anita if you had that kind of knowledge. Would you go over there and chose a list of losers if you knew which horse was going to win each race? Would you over there mark whatever you mark with all the losers? Of course you wouldn’t you’d chose winners. If you only had that kind of knowledge you’d go over and chose a whole list of winners.
So when God made his choices he chose winners. I like that, he chose me. That guarantees I’m a winner, the fact that God has chosen me in Christ before the foundations of the world. Really it is a marvelous thing to give praise and thanksgiving to God for, the fact that he has chosen us.
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, (65:4).
O yes, yes. You say, “but that doesn’t seem fair to me that God would chose certain ones and not chose others”. Well again, as I say, we can’t really judge or fault God for that because we can’t understand how it is to chose when you know everything. He chose on the basis of his foreknowledge. “Whom he did foreknow he does also predestinate that they shall be conformed to the image”. We can’t understand. It would be manifestly wrong for us to fault God for having the power of choice and for making the choices he does having the information that he has. You say, “but I don’t know if God chose me or not”. Well it’s easy to find out. Turn your heart and life over to Jesus Christ and ask him to come in and take over. Surrender yourself to him and you’ll find out that he chose you. You say, “Well I don’t know if I want to do that or not” well maybe he didn’t chose you.
You see, he knew and knows what your response and reaction will be. He knew you were going to take that stance, “Well I don’t know if I want to do that” and so he wont choose you. Or he knew that somehow the spirit of God would grab hold of your heart and when you heard the message say, “O I want it I want it. I want that relationship with God. I want to commit my life to Jesus Christ” and so he chose you, before the foundations of the world that’s the interesting thing.
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, (65:4).
That marvelous fact that I can approach God. Paul sort of followed this in his Ephesians chapter one because he talks about us not only being chosen but accepted in the beloved. I can approach God through Jesus Christ.
that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple (65:4).
So blessed the man who God has chosen to come and to worship him in his house, his holy temple. The word terrible is an Old English word and it has, through the years, changed its meaning through usage. They used to use the word terrible for awesome. Now it means something sort of horrible and something rather to be feared. It’s rather to be reverenced, the awesomeness.
By terrible [awesome] things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, (65:5).
God answers the prayers of his people through awesome works and marvelous miracles.
O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea: (65:5).
He is not only the God of Israel but the God of all peoples, the God of all nations. Praising God again, remember this is a psalm of praise.
Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains being girded with power: (65:6).
Now he is going to talk about God’s creation. He’s talked about the awesomeness of the works of God.
Which stilleth the noise of the seas, (65:7).
You think of Jesus at that point when the disciples and Jesus were in the little ship and the waves were coming over the bow. They were bailing the thing out and it was sinking. Jesus was asleep and when they woke him up he rebuked the winds and the seas and immediately there was a great calm.
the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people. They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and the evening to rejoice (65:7-8).
God asked Job the question in this controversy that Job had with his friends, they could not resolve the issues. Finally God spoke to Job. God gave Job a series of questions and he said, “Answer them if you have knowledge”. Of the questions that God asked, he talked about who waters the wilderness. The area over there in the Middle East is an arid area but the people have learned tremendous water conservation principles.
We still do not fully understand how the people could survive in those arid areas. In the Negev Desert the Navatians had huge cities in place that less than two inches of rain a year and yet they had these large prosperous cities. Cities of over forty thousand people which, in those days, was a very large community. How did they ever survive in that arid wilderness of the Negev Desert? We don’t know for sure. The scientist today are studying it and they are trying to figure out just how in the world they did survive. They had tremendous ways of water conservation. Water was so important.
All over the land you’ll find these cisterns, these large caves that have been carved out of the rocks where the water was stored. One of the fascinating things of Masada, that wilderness fortress, are the tremendous cisterns that were created and the way that they brought the water into the cisterns. They were able to on the top of that rockiness of Masada they were able to have steam baths, swimming pools and all of these tremendous cisterns that are there. When you have a garden, of course the watering of the garden was such an important thing. Filling your water jug, going to the well, bringing the water and watering your plants was a major part of the development of the family gardens. But God said to Job, “Hey Job who waters the wilderness that it brings forth all of the flowers”.
Here he again sees the marvelous work of God in the watering of the earth. When you think about it, this watering cycle, it’s done marvelous hydraulic engineering of God. How he takes water which is sixteen times heavier than atmosphere, heavier than the air, and the sun beats down upon the seas and causes the water of the sea to evaporate into the component gases which are lighter than the atmosphere. Gathers them together in the clouds, moves them with the winds over the land and has them designed so that according to the drop in temperature there is the precipitation. He moves these masses of water. Have you ever been in a cloud burst? Have you ever been where you’ve got about an inch of rain in fifteen minutes? That tremendous mass of waters that was moved from the seas over the land and dumps it on the land. It goes into the rivers back out into the sea and up, this whole hydraulic cycle. Really a marvelous thing.
Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: (65:9-10).
The mountains of course being colder receive more water. Always, as you look at the rain tables around here, where we might get fifteen inches of rain in the area here in the same year they will get fifty-seven inches of rain up in Arrowhead for he waters the ridges thereof abundantly. Why? So that he can store it as snow and you’ll have water all summer long. Accident or design? The storage of the water and the gradual melting of the snows so you have the year around streams flowing bringing the water down to the lower areas. A marvelous, marvelous design.
thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: (65:10).
The ground itself becomes soft. You are able to plow it because of the showers.
thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing (65:10-13).
The harvest time, God has been good. He has watered the fields creating the grasses for the sheep, creating the grain, the gathering together and the thanksgiving, the acknowledging of God as the one who has provided for man to exist here on the plant. O that men would praise the Lord for his wonderful works and his goodness unto man.
The sixty-sixth psalm is another psalm of praise as is indicated by the first verse.
MAKE a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious (66:1-2).
The psalm introduces again the fact that it is a psalm of praise unto God. He’s calling upon the people to make his praise glorious.
Say unto God, How terrible [awesome] art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee (66:3).
We look at man today in his rebellion against God and he is only able to rebel and blaspheme God because God allows him to do so. When Belteshazzar took over the kingdom of Babylon at the death of his father he ordered a great feast for all of the Lords and the princes even as the city was under siege by the Medo-Persian Empire; the feeling that they were secure, the city of Babylon was impregnable, the awesome fortress city that it was, they were feasting. Belteshazzar ordered the gold and silver vessels that his grandfather had taken from the temple in Jerusalem to be brought in order that they might drink their wine out of these sacred vessels. They had been set aside to be used in the worship of God in the temple of Jerusalem. As he was drinking his wine from these gold and silver vessels from the temple suddenly this hand was seen writing on the wall words that they could not understand.
Daniel was brought in finally to interpret what the words declared. Before he interpreted it for Belteshazzar he gave him a sermon. The sermon in which he reminded him of his grandfather and of the tremendous kingdom that his grandfather had built and that he had inherited. He reminded him how that his grandfather had rebelled against God and God allowed him a period of time in which he was insane in order that he might know that God ruled. Belteshazzar had not honored this God. In fact, he was then in an open blaspheme against this God by drinking his wine and praising the gods of gold and silver. He said, “The God in whose hand your very breath is you have not glorified”.
This is the tragedy of man today. God allows them to blaspheme him and God allows man to go along his own way. The God who created him, God allows it, and yet there will come a day when all of the enemies of God will submit to him. The Bible tells us that God has given to Jesus Christ a name that is above every name and that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Say unto God, How terrible [awesome] art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. All the earth shall worship thee, (66:3-4).
In that day, the acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as Lord will not be to salvation. For many people it will be actually a self-incrimination. They’ve refused to accept him as Lord, they have refused to live for him, but yet they will be forced to acknowledge yes he is the Lord, but not to salvation.
All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name [the name of Jesus]. Come and see the works of God: he is terrible [awesome] in his doing toward the children of men (66:4-5).
Look at these awesome works of God. Now he is referring to the history of Israel. Whenever the Israelites considered their nation itself, the birth of their nation, the thing that was always paramount in their mind was how that God by the miracle parted the Red Sea so that they passed through on dry land and the Egyptians who did the same were drowned. That is something they went back to, they always remembered this awesome power and work of God in delivering them out of Egypt.
He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him (66:6).
God made the path through the sea, they passed through on dry land.
He ruleth by his power forever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard: Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet be moved (66:7-9).
It begins with praise, “Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands” (66:1) and now again the repetition of calling the people to bless the Lord, “the voice of his praise to be heard” (66:8). I think that as children of God we should be praising God more. I think that too often we fail to recognize the hand of God in the good things in our lives. Surely when something goes wrong we are prone to blame God, “Why would God allow that to happen?” When something good happens we always sort of look at ourselves and say, “Well, I’m so smart” and we are wanting to take credit really for the good things but to blame God for the bad. I think we’d be a lot wiser to turn it around, blame God for the good things and take credit ourselves for the bad.
O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard: Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved (66:8-9).
I owe my existence to God. The fact that I am here tonight I owe to God, he is the one who sustains me, he holds my life. My life is held in his hand. He said to Belteshazzar, “The very God in whose hand your breath is”.
In our bodies we have what are called voluntary and involuntary muscles. The voluntary muscles are attached to the skeleton, the frame, and are controlled by a conscience thought of the mind. The involuntary muscles of your body are not attached to the skeleton and they are not controlled by a conscience action of your mind. Your heart is an involuntary muscle, your lungs are involuntary muscles. It is interesting that those muscles upon which your life depends upon God didn’t give you the mental power to control. He let you control things that are not life supporting or sustaining things. Where it is a life sustaining muscle, he keeps control of that. He holds our soul in life, he keeps us alive and he doesn’t allow our feet to be moved, he establishes us.
For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried (66:10).
We are told in the scriptures that we are not to despise the trial of our faith which is more precious than gold, thou it perisheth in the fire.
Here he speaks of God proving us and trying us. The purpose of this is not to destroy us. Many times we make a mistake when we think about the testing that God has put us through as if testing is designed to somehow destroy. The testing is designed to help us to understand ourselves in order that we might know our limitations and our weaknesses so that we will learn not to trust in ourselves but to trust in God. If there is an area in your life where you are very self-confident, where you feel you are able to handle this without any help, chances are God is going to put you through a real test in that area and you’re going to fail miserably as he proves to you your need for dependence upon him. The testing proves my weaknesses and God puts me through the testing in order that he might prove to me that I have to rely upon him.
The interesting thing is they say that in the testing of the silver, he makes mention of this here and in several places in the scripture it does talk about the testing or the refining of silver, “you have tried us as silver is tried”. The way the silver was tried is to be heated. They would heat it and as the silver was heated the slag would be burned out. That was the purpose of the refining of silver to get rid of the impurities by this tremendous blast of heat. The molten silver and the impurities where being burned out of it. They say that as they tried this silver or as they would refine the silver they would heat it until they could see the reflection of their face in the silver.
God has tried us as silver. That is he puts the heat on for the purpose of burning out the impurities until when he looks at us he sees the reflection of himself. David said, “I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness”, when God’s reflection is seen through me. You proved us and tried us as silver is tried.
Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins (66:11).
Part of the testing, the trials.
Thou hast caused me to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place (66:12).
God brought me through. I was tested. I was tested in the fire and tested in the water, the floods, yet God brought me into this rich place of relationship and fellowship with him. The interesting things is that at this point we have a change of pronouns. Notice it’s been a plural pronoun up until now; you’ve brought us, you’ve proved us, you’ve tried us, our feet over our heads and we went through the fire. Now it’s “you brought us into a wealthy place” (66:12). He changes to the personal pronoun as now he begins to give his own personal witness of God.
I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows, (66:13).
The burnt offerings were offerings of consecration. Too many times we think as offerings as only sin offerings. That was one of the offerings but there were many different types of offerings; there were the peace offerings, the burnt offerings and the sin offerings. The burnt offerings were offerings of consecration unto God saying, “Lord I will consecrate my life to you. My desire’s burned out and Lord I will live for you”. The burnt offering sacrifice is where “I will pay you my vows” (66:13). Usually you vow to commit yourself to God, “Lord if you’ll just help me out of this jam I promise that I will really serve you and give my life to you”. So he says now he is going to offer his burnt offering as he pays his vow unto God.
Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble (66:14).
That’s when people usually make their vows to God when they are trouble. You’re sliding off the roof and you say, “Lord stop me and I’ll serve you and I promise I’ll be better”. So often as the little boy sliding off the roof crying unto God for help promising to be good, when his pants got caught of a nail and he came to a ripping stop he said, “Never mind Lord, the nail stopped me”. So often we are that way. We call upon God and God delivers and we say, “Never mind Lord” and they came through not realizing that it was God’s hand all the while.
I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer the bullocks with goats (66:15).
I will go in and make this consecration.
Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul (66:16).
The witnessing for God, come and listen, I want to declare to you what God has done for me.
I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer (66:17-19).
I made my vows to God, I brought my burnt offerings, I made my commitment to God and I cried to him, I lifted up my voice or my tongue and God heard me and has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me (66:20).
“Make a joyful noise unto God all ye lands” (66:1) and “Blessed be God” (66:20). Notice how the psalm begins and ends. Directing our hearts, our hearts, minds and praise towards God.
Psalm sixty-seven is a prayer again for mercy.
GOD be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; (67:1).
Seeking, first of all, the mercy of God, second, the blessings of God and then God’s face to shine upon us.
That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations (67:2).
Lord, through your people and through the blessings of your people, may the world around us know how important it is to serve God and the rewards of committing your life unto God.
Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee (67:3).
That call again for praise and worship.
O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon the earth (67:4).
This looks forward to that glorious kingdom age when Jesus Christ comes and reigns over the earth. When God’s blessings will be upon the earth, upon all man kind, as Jesus reigns, “his way is known his saving help among the nations, the people praising God, let the nations be glad and sing for joy for you shall judge the people righteously”. The reign of Jesus Christ will be a righteous reign. At that time the Bible says, “Righteousness will cover the earth as the waters cover the seas”. The glorious righteous reign of our Lord and his governing of the nations that are upon the earth.
Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee (67:5).
During the glorious kingdom age when Jesus is reigning upon the earth and the faithful saints are reigning with him, it is going to be a time of glory, glory that we cannot imagine. There are many passages of scripture that describe the glory of the reign of Christ over the earth. There will be no wars, there will be no armies, the military budgets will be turned towards agricultural development, and there will be no taking advantage of another person. The earth will bring forth abundantly. Every man beneath his own vine and fig tree living in peace, unafraid. No jails and no crimes either, only love ruling, reigning. There will be no sicknesses, no handicaps. A glorious, glorious age which Jesus told us that we should be praying for. He said, “When you pray, pray thy kingdom come, thy will be done in this earth even as it is in heaven”.
Right now the earth is still in rebellion against God. The heartache, the hardships, the sickness, the suffering, the wars and the crimes are all resultant of the rebellion of man against the authority of God, against the laws of God. That rebellion will be put down when Jesus reigns. The fruit of the rebellion will be gone. Glorious day, he will judge the world righteously and he will govern the nations on the earth.
Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee (67:5).
It will be a time, an age, in which the world will be filled with praises unto the Lord because of his glorious righteous reign.
Then shall the earth yield her increase; (67:6).
The earth will produce abundantly because there will be no more deserts. The deserts will blossom as a rose, there will be streams in the deserts, rivers in dry place and there will be a whole climatic change of the earth.
They talk about over population. If you’re worried about overpopulation what you need to do is get into an airplane and fly across the United States. I mean there are so many vast uninhabited areas because they are uninhabitable at the present time. Flying over New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Nevada and those vast desert regions, which are just empty. The day will come when it will blossom like a rose. You’ll fly over it and see just beautiful gardens. The wilderness will be like the Garden of Eden.
Living in these conditions, the peace, abundance and everyone sharing in the abundance. No colds, viruses, weaknesses, headaches, earaches but glory and the people everywhere praising thee.
Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our God, shall bless us (67:6).
The glorious blessings of God upon the earth during that reign of Christ.
God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear [reverence] him (67:7).
It goes back to the second psalm where again he speaks of that glorious age when all of the nations shall worship him, shall fear him. Glory, glory, O God, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done”.
May the Lord bless and keep you in the love of Jesus Christ. As you walk in fellowship with God may the Lord strengthen you and give you power over the world, the flesh and the devil that you might live a life of victory in Christ. May you be strengthened by His Spirit in your inner man. May you come to a greater understanding of the hope of your calling. God’s glorious eternal kingdom when “Jesus shall reign where err the sun doth her successive journeys run”. May you be strengthened by that hope as you live in a world that is in rebellion still against Him. May he give you that strength to go against the tide and to live for Him, in Jesus name.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7186
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