My friend Gary has chosen his favorite verse from Psalm 66. His verse comes at the end of this wonderful psalm, Psalm 66:20. Before we get to verse 20, let’s look at some of the other verses that set the stage for the conclusion in verse 20.
Shout for joy to God, all the earth; 2 sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! 3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. 4 All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah The psalmist begins this song with praise to God for his name and his wonderful and awesome deeds. This is a reminder to us to enter into his presence with praise on our lips. God is great and has done and will do great things. The approach of praise has a tendency to put our life’s problems in perspective and helps us to see the greatness and majesty of God. In verses 5-15, the psalmist recounts times when God has rescued them from their enemies and brought them to the promised land. This is a continuance of his praise as he tells what God has done. He then invites all to come and hear.
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. 17 I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. 19 But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. In this section, the psalmist proclaims what God has done for him personally. He cried out to God with praise and a repentant heart. The results were a transformation of his soul and the knowledge that God had listened to his prayers. Now, verse 20:
20 Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me! The psalmist ends with praise to God as he knows that God has listened to his prayers and loves him always. The transformation of his soul that he attested to in verse 16 led him to the conclusion that God hears our prayers and loves us always. Praise God as He continually reveals himself to us in prayer.
Thank you Gary for pointing me to this verse. I am encouraged by the reaffirmation that God transforms us and answers our prayers. We can be assured that He will always love us. I am reminded of Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Have a great day knowing you are heard and loved by Almighty God.
Luke 1:23-25 tells of mute Zechariah going home and barren aged Elizabeth becoming pregnant just as God had said. “When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home. 24 Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. 25 “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”
Here are a couple of personal connections with these verses: Elizabeth remained in seclusion for 5 month and she had an amazing attitude towards God. It is not known why she kept her pregnancy a secret. It could have been because of her advanced age, the possibility of a miscarriage or perhaps it was time for her to adjust to this miracle happening to her. Elizabeth’s attitude proclaims a wonderment at God’s work in her. Since barrenness was consider a disgrace in their society, her heart overflowed with love and gratitude towards God for lifting this ‘curse’ from her.
How quickly do you to proclaim wonderment at God’s work in your life? I find it takes me a bit of time to process what has happened and to see God’s hand in my life. I can truly identify with Elizabeth and her process time. Like Elizabeth, I waited years for a child and God provided my sweet Elizabeth from a far away country. It took time to process that the adoption was really going to go through, that my child of promise was really coming and that I was going to be a mother. Once I realized it was really happening, I was filled with wonder at God’s answer to my long awaited prayer. I’m sure that Elizabeth had similar thoughts and concerns about her ability to be a mom and to raise her child as God wanted. I’m sure she never doubted her ability to love this new life within her! Her expressions of love and wonder at God choosing her to be a mother and the lifting of her disgrace was cause for her exclamation in scripture, “How kind the Lord is!” I totally get her words as that is exactly how I felt. I felt touched and so loved by God that He kindly sent Elizabeth to me. I also identified with her ‘lifting of disgrace’ for not having children. I know it was much more intensified in her day but I was constantly asked, “When are you going to have children?” I wanted children, so the words stung and stayed with me. Somehow, it is expected that once married you will have children, but as in Elizabeth and my case God had a plan for us to see the wonderment of God in our lives. God’s timing was not our timing, but His will was accomplished. John was born to Elizabeth and Zachariah and Elizabeth was brought home to us. “How kind God was!” to bring Elizabeth into our home! It was and is cause for rejoicing at the power and might of God.
May you see God’s hand in your life today and exclaim along with us, “How kind God is!”