Read: Psalm 66:1 – 7; 2 Thessalonians 2:1 – 8; Acts 4:24 – 31; Romans 1:21
Psalm 66 is about praise to God. Three categories of people are directed to praise God: vv. 1 – 7, all people of the earth, vv. 8 – 12, God’s people, and vv. 13 – 20, the individual believer. All people are encouraged to praise God for His mighty works and power, for the fact that His enemies are forced to feign obedience to Him, and because He holds down the rebellious and keeps a watchful eye on the earth.
Think About It: What will happen when God removes His restraining hand from holding back His enemies? What benefits do even unbelievers receive from God’s exercise of His restraining hand and His watchful eye over the earth? Why do worldly people not give God the praise and thanks He deserves?
Prayer: Thank God for His power expressed in restraining evil.
Read: Psalm 66:1 – 3; Revelation 15:3 – 4; Psalm 35:27; Isaiah 44:23
God is to be praised by all the people of the earth with shouting and singing. Contrast this with the worship of silence encouraged in Psalm 65! There is a place for both shouting and silence in true worship. God’s children should worship Him for the reasons, and in the way, that the whole world is admonished in this psalm to worship Him.
Think About It: Do I feel comfortable “shouting” in worship? When and how can I fulfill this direction in my experience of worship?
Prayer: For more freedom and enthusiasm in my worship experience.
Read: Psalm 66:8 – 12; Psalm 73:2; 1 Peter 1:7; Isaiah 43:1 – 5
God is to be especially praised by His own people. God’s people are to praise Him because He keeps them in life, keeps their feet from slipping, delivers them through (not from) the refining fire, and brings them out to a place of abundance. The fire that refines God’s people includes v.11, the net– a trap or snare from which there appears to be no escape; v. 11, the oppressive burden– the heavy weight of work and responsibility which seems to crush us; v. 12, men riding over our heads– persecution from human sources, from those who would Lord it over us and seek to destroy us.
Think About It: What kind of refining fire have I experienced in my life? Am I “in the fire” right now, and if so in what way? Do I praise God for the fire that purifies?
Prayer: Thank God for the purifying fire of trials in my life.
Read: Psalm 66:8; Jeremiah 31:7; Deuteronomy 32:3; Psalm 26:7
God’s people are to praise Him by sounding His praise abroad. That is, they are to praise Him in such a way that others (in the world as well as in the church) will hear that praise and have their attention directed to God. This is praise as a witness and testimony to God. The corporate praise of God’s people is not something to keep “in house,” it is to be broadcast to the world as a witness to God’s power and faithfulness. “The Lord hath done great things for us, and we are glad” (Psalm 126:3).
Think About It: What are some ways that the church can sound God’s praise abroad? Do I do my part in sounding God’s praise abroad?
Prayer: That the church would have a bold witness and effectively sound God’s praise abroad.
Read: Psalm 66:17 – 20; Psalm 34:4; Psalm 77:2; Philippians 4:6 – 7; Isaiah 55:6 – 9; Jonah 2
The individual believer is to praise God because God wrought in his heart a love of prayer (Ps. 66:17) and also a dread of sin (Ps. 66:18.) The individual also praises God because He is merciful and answers prayer.
Think About It: Have I ever “cried from the depths” to God? What happened? Do I remember to thank God for His lovingkindness?
Prayer: Thank God for those times that I have called to Him from the depths and He has heard my prayer.
Read: Psalm 66:13 – 20; Psalm 34:1 – 3; Judges 11:35; Ecclesiastes 5:4
The individual believer is to praise God by 1) bringing costly offerings to God (Ps. 66: 13, 15) to reflect appreciation for God’s mercy in the joy and quality of the gift; 2) by keeping promises and vows made to God during times of extreme need (Ps. 66:13 – 14); and 3) by giving testimony to God’s people, by edifying and encouraging other believers through sharing the specific things God has done to provide deliverance and help in our need (Ps. 66:16).
Think About It: Does my stewardship reflect adequate praise to God? Do I have any unfulfilled promises to God? Do I offer testimony that encourages God’s people?
Prayer: That my giving may reflect a proper measure of gratitude; that I keep my promises to God; that I remember to encourage others in my praise.
Read: Psalm 66:18 – 20; Proverbs 15:8; 21:27; 1 John 1:9 – 10; Isaiah 43:25; 59:2
The premise “if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me,” followed by “but certainly God has heard me,” might have led to the concluding words “therefore I must not have iniquity in my heart.” Instead the psalmist concluded, “Blessed be God.” Matthew Henry commented regarding this conclusion: “Whatever the premise, the conclusion must be God’s glory.”
Think About It: Do I regard iniquity in my heart? What assurance do I have that God hears my prayers?
Prayer: For forgiveness of sin; thank God He hears me.