Text: Psalm 66
Verses 1-4: The psalmist calls on the congregation to heap praise on God for his awesome deeds.
Verses 5-7: An invitation to come and see as a call to remembrance of God’s past acts of rescue.
Verses 8-12: While the previous verses celebrated God’s great acts from the distant past, the psalmist now praises God for saving them in the recent past.
Verses 13-15: The psalmist offers praise and thanks for their answered prayers.
Verses 16-20: As the spokesperson for the community, the psalmist gives testimony to God’s positive response to his request for rescue and offers praise to God.
INTERPRET: Many scholars divide Psalm 66 into a hymn (v. 1-12) celebrating God’s past redemptive acts, and an individual thanksgiving poem (v. 13-20) where the psalmist thanks God for answering a recent request. While this breakdown is very possible it may not be the most compelling. While the psalm does open by praising God for his awesome deeds in the distant past (the crossing of the Red Sea and the Jordan River), verses 8-12 probably should be understood to refer to a recent rescue of the community. Although the psalmist gives individual thanks in the final verses, he likely should be understood as a representative leader speaking on behalf of the whole community.
APPLICATION: The psalmist, on behalf of the people praises God for his “awesome deeds” of deliverance, and thanks God for saving him and his community from a present threat. These past redemptive deeds include not only the recent unspecified rescue, but also the earlier redemption at the Red Sea and the crossing over the Jordan River into the Promised Land.
Christian readers of this psalm today can join in this celebration with enthusiasm. Not only can we celebrate the past redemptive acts of God but we are blessed of an even greater deed of salvation, the cross of Christ. As we also celebrate God’s response to our own individual prayers for help we should also be looking at how God is consistently protecting his church.
Next time we look to God for help let us “come and see” all of God’s awesome deeds, from the Red Sea all the way to the cross. This will help provide us with an incredible amount of confidence today that Christ is with us and his church. Let us live faith filled lives that clearly demonstrate confidence that our amazing Lord has rescued us, is rescuing us and will continue to rescue us.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I praise you for your awesome deeds, especially for what you have accomplished on the cross. I praise you for all you are doing in my life and the life of my church community. Help me to live a life of faith that gives you glory for all that you have done. AMEN.
SONG: Who is Awesome in his deeds
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.