THE ABUNDANCE OF GOD’S POWER AND BLESSING --
BOTH IN NATURE AND IN OUR LIVES --
QUIETS OUR HEART IN AWE AND EXCITES OUR HEART IN PRAISE
Thanksgiving is a time for us to step back and to consider how good we really have it.
Especially to give thanks to God for His Abundant Goodness.
God is good because He is the All-Powerful Sovereign of the Universe He is also able to do good and to
shower us with blessings. That combination of blessing and power is the picture we have of God in Psalm 65.
We need to be reminded to focus on giving God thanks because our society presents 2 very real threats to thanksgiving:
1) First: We live in a very negative age -- in a very critical society--where scandal is what grabs our attention... where the expose is the ultimate in journalistic success. Whether it’s this week’s can of worms on Sixty Minutes or the latest church split tragedy or the fall of another visible Christian leader, there are always an abundance of negatives that compete for our attention.
2) Secondly: We live in a very prosperous society -- you would think that would be an encouragement to give God thanks, but it actually presents a special trap -- to sit around all fat and happy thinking that we deserve all of this abundance -- to actually complain that we don’t have as much as someone else and to forget the goodness of God.
This Psalm also addresses 3 problems in contemporary Christianity:
1) We are too busy to worship -- can’t quiet our hearts before the Lord. We have more leisure time but it is so crammed with leisure activities that we have less leisure for quiet meditation.
2) We view God too much on a buddy-buddy basis and have lost a vision for His majesty and His greatness. Yes, Jesus is a friend of sinners, but He is also the Master of the Universe.
3) We are too emotionally inhibited and sophisticated to praise God the way we should.
I. THE BLESSING OF GOD OVERCOMES THE POWER OF SIN AND FULFILLS OUR EVERY LONGING (:1-4)
A. Desperate Sense of Need must be the starting point
(:3a)."iniquities prevail against me" -- you might think that he is talking about the sins of his enemies in opposing him, but the psalmist is really talking about his own sins since he moves on to talk of the blessing of forgiveness; In the case of Israel, personal sin had great consequences for the success of the nation. So there is also an element here
of threat from outside powers. Not only the individual but also the nation needs to experience God’s power of deliverance.
The point of desperation should be the starting point for recovery and thanksgiving rather than for a slide down into despair. But what makes the difference between desperation that leads to despair and desperation that results in thanksgiving and joy?
Casting one’s hope in God
Ps. 38:15 -- no matter how bad it gets, no matter how bad I look in the eyes of others, no matter what enemies might be scheming to do me in, I actively hope in God and am confident that God hears and will answer and will deliver me. I am counting on God’s grace, on
His favor to make the difference.
B. We have a God to turn to who hears our prayers and forgives our sin
Here’s a beautiful characterization of The Sovereign of the Universe: "the one who hears prayer" (:2;3b)
people don’t know much about what God is supposed to be like, but at least they know that if He is really God, He answers prayer
We can so easily take the privilege of prayer for granted. We know that God hears and that we can come to Him whenever we want. Imagine a situation where God takes a holiday from hearing prayer-- where He announces: "For this next week, I am not available to
hear your prayers" -- No one to turn to in our hour of need; No one to calm our anxious fears; no one to intercede to help our loved ones. How different would your life be if God cancelled prayer for a week or would you just be rolling on by yourself without much
importance of prayer -- remember the battle against Amalek in Exod. 17, when Moses held up his hand (symbolic of intercessory prayer),
the Israelites prevailed against their enemies -- he required the help of Aaron and Hur
"to Thee all men come"
Going beyond national holiday -- universal note in this Psalm.(:2,5,8) -- God’s blessing is not limited to some special geographical area, but extends worldwide
coming to God is all that is required on our part -- but even that response is graciously motivated by God first choosing to reveal Himself to us and to shower us with His love and to draw us to Himself.
Why don’t people come to God? Maybe they picture God as a Scrooge rather than a Spring of Blessing? Maybe they don’t believe God is powerful and can really be trusted? Why don’t we come to God for help in certain areas of our lives? We don’t want to resign ourselves and submit to the will of God.
C. The Blessing of God -- His Presence and His Favor --overcomes the sin which overcomes us and satisfies us completely (:4)
this verse is rich in theology --
election, God’s effectual call,
adoption into God’s family
Think of the blessing of God associated with the manifestation of His presence throughout the OT:
only the High Priest could come into the Holiest of Holies, and that only once a year on the Day of Atonement
remember the time the ark of the Covenant was stored at the house of Obededom for 3 months after God had struck down Uzzah for trying to steady it with his hand -- his sin was described in 2 Sam.6:7 as one of irreverence; God blessed the household of Obededom so King David finally repented and returned the ark to Jerusalem
think of the Shekinah glory in the temple of God;
It’s important that we remember that this church building is still not the house of God where God manifests His presence. WE are the temple of God -- individually and corporately -- the presence of
God is within us! It’s not this building that we are to treat with special reverence; it is our body as the temple of the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ. What tremendous access we have to God. One day we will be satisfied with that! O that we would be satisfied today with the presence of God and His favor.
true contentment -- not because we grit our teeth and get by, but because we have the full abundance of everything that really counts..the freedom of access we have to God’s presence must not lessen our
sense of reverence and godly fear
D. Only response must be Awe and Praise (:1)
"and to Thee the vow will be performed"
II. THE POWER OF GOD LEAVES THE WHOLE WORLD IN AWE OF GOD’S GREATNESS (:5-8)
3 Examples where we can see the Awesome Power of God:
A. The Awesome Power of God is Seen In Answering the Prayers of His People (:5).
remember, the One we have come to is the One who hears prayer!
B. The Awesome Power of God is Seen In The Wonders of God’s Creation (:6).
C. The Awesome Power of God is Seen In His Sovereignty Over All Earthly Kingdoms (:7) -- pictured by His Sovereignty over all of Nature
the sea is a commonly used figure in the Bible for the nations -- especially unruly nations who stand in opposition to God and His people and His program
our country represents just such a sea; we need to be restored to the fear of God;
God’s Sovereign rule encourages us in times of international unrest
D. The Only Response to the Awesome Power of God Must Be Awe and Praise.
The Awesome Power of God Quiets Our Heart in Awe and Excites Our Heart In Praise (:8).
III. THE SUPERABUNDANT PROVISION OF GOD OVERFLOWS IN NATURE AND IN OUR LIVES (:9-13)
(both a Physical and a Spiritual Provision)
a simple clear picture of God providing a harvest blessing that is significant by virtue of its superabundance
not much elaboration needed here -- only the connection between physical and spiritual blessing must be explained;
in OT we see God promising great material, physical blessing to Israel if the nation would only respond in obedience. God wanted the whole world to look at Israel and see a picture of His Goodness and Provision;
important distinction in NT times where the emphasis is on spiritual blessing in terms of the inner fruit of the Holy Spirit -- not to say that there wasn’t signif. spiritual blessing in the OT or signif.
material provision to us in the NT, but it is a matter of emphasis.
Therefore, when you have the Health and Wealth Gospel preachers of today emphasizing a "Name it, Claim It" type of Get-Rich-Quick Christianity we should see the error.
Some try to make a case for Jesus being blessed with abundant wealth while here on earth. Certainly He did have a treasurer and money did flow thru His ministry to provide for the needs of His followers and
to provide blessing for the needy, but we never see Him stockpiling reserves for His own security. He always lived in moment-by-moment dependence on His heavenly Father for His daily bread.
He is described as the one who left behind riches and became poor so that we might be spiritually rich.
Perhaps the clearest example for me is the life of Peter, who denied that he had any silver or gold, but recognized that he had something of far greater value.
We need to read this psalm that drips with the fatness of crops and flocks, and translate it into our context of far more valuable spiritual blessings
Tone of shouting for Joy dominates over awe at the end -- moving beyond meditation and reflection to active expression of worship and praise
The Beauty of giving God thanks is that He totally deserves it. We don’t have to overlook certain flaws and make an effort to concentrate on His good features. He is totally good and can withstand any scrutiny from anyone. Christ came and demonstrated the goodness of God so that those around him could not help but call Him Good Master, Good Teacher,
although Christ had to rebuke the people for not recognizing His true Deity: "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone." Even His most critical enemies could do no better than invent feeble charges - -charges that Pontius Pilate could easily see through as he concluded:
"I find no fault in Him."
But that’s just the point. God doesn’t want us just to call Him Good. He wants us to believe that He is Good and that He has showered blessing and power down upon us -- not just in a general sense in nature, but in very specific ways:
He has forgiven our sins and freed us from the dominion of sin;
He has chosen us and brought us into intimate fellowship so that His presence actually dwells within us -- individually and in His body the church;
He vindicates us against our enemies -- awesome deeds of judgment;
He provides us abundantly with every good thing and allows us to enjoy His harvest in peace and security because of His strength
Hopefully, this has been a reminder of How good we do have it. We can never drain the fountain of God’s blessing. The stream of God is still full of water. God’s desire is to open up the windows of heaven
and rain down so much blessing that our hearts will be silenced in reverent awe as well as stirred to shouts of joy.
* * * * * * * * * *
1) Why do so many people stumble over the concept of God’s sovereign election? Are they missing out on some of the blessing associated with realizing that they are the ones “whom Thou dost choose and bring near to Thee”? (vs.3)
2) What are some of the incentives to contentment in this psalm? What does it take to truly satisfy us? (cf. vs. 4)
3) Is our faith strengthened by images of God’s power and might derived from nature?
4) This psalm drips with the richness of the blessing of God. If God is able to “make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy” (vs. 8) why are we so often downcast in spirit?
Download the entire Psalms commentary in pdf format
(including notes on each psalm from other commentators)