Psalm 66: How Awesome Are Your Deeds

To the choirmaster. A Song. A Psalm.
1Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
2sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
3Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
4All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you;
they sing praises to your name.” Selah
5Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
6He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
7who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah
8Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.
10For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
12you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
13I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
I will perform my vows to you,
14that which my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah
16Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
17I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was ona my tongue.b
18If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
20Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!

This is a beautiful psalm/prayer/poem that is grateful to God for whatever scrape He seems to have gotten them out of. It’s actually not attributed to David, but it sounds a lot like him. The author is grateful for the things done not just for him, but for the nation as well, mentioning the Exodus in vs 6. but also not backing away from the history of God testing them.

These tests have not been without those who have suffered for them, but as a nation it makes sense. I know we would rather think that only the wicked would have fallen in the exile but there were a lot of people in Israel and Judah when it happened. If they were all bad, why not vanquish the whole place like Sodom or Gomorrah? Maybe I’m putting too many of my own assumptions into the thought process of the psalmist.

Regardless, this is a psalm of gratitude, but not one that I think easily translates or is understood today without understanding the Old Testament or the Law. It’s also not exactly considered great to judge the hearts of those who don’t get answered prayers.

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