Summary: The Lord who brings rain on the earth has provided us with many blessings. Are we experiencing those blessings to the fullest?
Give thanks to the God of the Waters
I am struck by the similarity between this psalm and number 93. In both,
• God arms Himself with strength
• The thundering of the waves is referenced
• God is shown in His relationship to both land and sea
Psalm 93 is in book 4 of the psalms, so it might normally be considered a later psalm. However, the similarity shows that even though no indication is made, either it is written by David or was strongly influenced by him.
1 Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion;
to you our vows will be fulfilled.
2 O you who hear prayer,
to you all men will come.
3 When we were overwhelmed by sins,
you forgave our transgressions.
4 Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.
5 You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness,
O God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,
6 who formed the mountains by your power,
having armed yourself with strength,
7 who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.
8 Those living far away fear your wonders;
where morning dawns and evening fades
you call forth songs of joy.
9 You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows
and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers
and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the desert overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing. Psalm 65:1-13 (NIV)
We praise the God who forgives and blesses us
The God who hears prayer will be praised!
• In Jerusalem
• And all around the world
Deuteronomy 28 makes no bones. If the Israelites did not obey God’s commands they would be struck with all kinds of disasters. Among the problems prophesied, they knew that their crops would suffer drought and they would suffer famine.
The story that probably lies behind this psalm is a long and complicated one.
During the time when the Israelites were clearing out the Canaanites, a town about 14 miles from Jerusalem called Gibeon sent a delegation to make a treaty with Joshua. They made him think they came from a far country. Joshua, thinking there was no problem, made the treaty only to find out a little later that they were really right along his path of conquest.
So what is a leader to do? He was supposed to destroy the city, but he had promised not to. Under the circumstances, he decided to keep his promise, but put the people of Gibeon to work for the Israelites as common laborers. During all the centuries between the coming of Joshua and the beginning of the monarchy this treaty was kept.
At some point though, the treaty was broken. We don’t know the exact circumstances, but we know that Saul broke the treaty.
Consequently, there is only one famine spoken of during the reign of David. It lasted 3 years. The account is in 2 Samuel 21. When David inquired of the LORD to find out why they were suffering, God told David that it was because Saul, in his blood thirst, put some Gibeonites to death.
So David went to the Gibeonites and asked what he could do to make amends. They demanded 7 prisoners from the household of Saul, so they could take out vengeance. This sounds horrible to us now, but in those days it was how justice was done. So David complied, and the men were killed just before the harvest. He was careful though to keep his own vow to Jonathan and to Mephibosheth to be loyal to that household.
After vengeance was satisfied, the mother of the men who had been killed went into an extreme mourning. In respect to her, David went and retrieved the bodies of the men as well as the bodies of Saul and Jonathan and had them buried in the family graveyard. The Bible says that after that, "God answered prayer in behalf of the land" (2 Samuel 21:14). In other words, the famine was over.
This says something very important about the beginning of this psalm. When David says, "To you our vows will be fulfilled" it is a significant event.
• The vow that a treaty would be observed between Israel and Gibeon