Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jun 2 2019 - Psalm 66 – Shout with joy all the earth

Psalm 66 is a psalm of thanksgiving beginning with a call for all the earth to "shout for joy to God" (v. 1). The focus then narrows to celebrate what God has done for his people Israel (v. 6). Finally the focus narrows again to the thanksgiving and testimony of an individual believer (vv. 13-20).

The people of Israel had experienced God's saving power when he had dried up the waters of the Red Sea, enabling them to escape from the pursuing Egyptian army by crossing the sea on dry land (v. 6). They had witnessed a similar miracle when God had stopped the flow of the Jordan river so that the Israelites could walk into the Promised Land on the dry river bed. These redemptive acts of God were celebrated by his people, particularly at Passover time and during the Feast of Tabernacles.  They would remember and celebrate the way in which God had rescued them from slavery in Egypt, provided for them during the years of their wandering in the wilderness and had given them possession of the land he had promised them:

For you, God, tested us;
    you refined us like silver.
You brought us into prison
    and laid burdens on our backs.
You let people ride over our heads;
    we went through fire and water,
    but you brought us to a place of abundance. (vv. 10-12)

They would look back with thanksgiving. But God's acts of salvation were not confined to the past. The psalmist celebrates what God has done for him (or her) and is eager to tell others of how God has been good to him. His praise of God thus becomes testimony to others:

Come and hear, all you who fear God;
    let me tell you what he has done for me.
I cried out to him with my mouth;
    his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
    the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened
    and has heard my prayer.
Praise be to God,
    who has not rejected my prayer
    or withheld his love from me!  (vv. 16-20)

We who have been saved from sin and condemnation through the Lord Jesus Christ have even more cause to come before him with extravagant praise and thanksgiving. We will want to rehearse what God has done for us in our times of praise together, making use of songs and hymns which remind us afresh of what God has done for us in Christ. What are your favourite hymns and songs and why? Nor do we want our testimony to God's goodness to be shared only with those who have already experienced God's saving power (as in v.16). We want all the world to hear of the saving power of our God. We want vv. 1-4 of this psalm to become a reality as all the earth sings of the glory of our God and makes his praise glorious. How will you share your testimony with those who have not yet come to know God's salvation for themselves?

Lord, help me daily to appreciate afresh, more fully and more deeply what you have done for me in the Lord Jesus Christ. Fill me with songs of praise and thanksgiving. Help me by your Spirit to bear testimony to your saving power through the words I speak and the character of my life so that others may come to know your salvation and join our songs of praise to you.

Peter Misselbrook