“Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for me...”
“... truly God has listened...”
~Psalm 66:16, 19a (NRSV)
To the redemptive genre this psalm belongs. The exhilarated mood of the psalmist ripples throughout as they consider what they’ve been brought through. Proof of God is never more poignant than through the answering of prayer—especially that which is bellowed from the depths of Sheol.
As with Psalm 65, the praise felt through this psalm elicits the supreme sense of thankfulness.
Singing Praises To God
The first four verses issue the imperative for the whole community of God to proclaim aloud: “How awesome are God’s deeds...!”
The psalmist commences in the most general way; that praise and worship are utterly befitting, almost as if there is excitement beyond reason—for the reason will follow as the psalm continues, at the psalmist catches his breath.
As a song this psalm is so majestically pristine it demands a lengthy audition to find music worthy of the delicacies of classical passion for the Divine evoked.
Praises are sung, most fundamentally, because of the faithfulness of God—to execute power in the midst of enemies and, in this way, prayers have been listened to and answered.
Come And See What God Has Done!
Following the urgent call to worship come the first of the direct invitations to get nearer and see, to behold no less, that which God alone has done.
The Exodus is remembered (verses 5-7). Our contemporary way is to forget the importance of the Exodus to the people of
God’s Faithfulness Involves Testing
A false teacher of God either dismisses testing, highlighting the bliss of Christian living to the exclusion of trials, or they major too much on it. The truth is somewhere in the middle.
The psalmist takes a breath here (verses 8-12) to reconcile before the throng that God does test his people for faithfulness. Whilst we have been tested, tried as silver is tried, the Lord has not let our feet slip. He has allowed us to be burdened, to be submitted to the fire and raging waters, and still we have found our way out to a spacious place.
Cognisance of testing is actually replete with blessing; that God qualifies us as worthy (Acts 5:41) to be tested—for the demonstration of our obedience and the growing of our faith.
Bring Sacrifices Of Praise And Thanksgiving
Upon reflection of the deeds of God to save us when our existence led the peril, there is the mood of sacrifice—no burnt offerings, per the psalmist, just praise and thanksgiving; to experience the exhilaration of spiritual victory.
Truly, God Does Listen – God Does Answer Prayer
The psalm has continued to reduce from the general call to worship, to recollection of national redemption (the Exodus), to personal reflections of faith.
Faith, again, never becomes more relevant or more personal than via the sincerity of prayer in the case of dire need—where physical or spiritual life depended on it.
God is thanked for two facts: the Lord has not rejected the psalmist’s prayer, or removed his steadfast love in any way.
When God answers prayer, and it’s a fact he does, we feel buoyant beyond belief. This is a spiritual experience of salvation; nothing can explain it and nothing can beat it.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.