Psalm 65: What God Does

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Psalm 65

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
    and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
    to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
    you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
    to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
    the holiness of your temple!

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
    O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
    being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    the tumult of the peoples,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

You visit the earth and water it;
    you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
    you provide their grain,
    for so you have prepared it.
10 You water its furrows abundantly,
    settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
    and blessing its growth.
11 You crown the year with your bounty;
    your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
    the hills gird themselves with joy,
13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
    the valleys deck themselves with grain,
    they shout and sing together for joy.

Reaching High | Tomball, TX | February 2023

My first call to be pastor was to Vernal, (northeast) Utah, and Rangely, (western slope) Colorado. I was new at this so I spent a lot of time studying and preparing for Sunday worship as well as a good bit of time on the road, traveling the 51 miles between the two churches. We lived just around the block from the church in Vernal, and I would often go home for lunch. One day my wife was talking with a neighbor who said, “It must be nice having your husband home all the time.” She was surprised when Diane said, “He’s at the office now.” I’m not sure how the rest of the conversation went, but she apparently thought I just hung around the house all day long throughout the week, and only went to work on Sunday.

I suspect many people think of God that way. He just hangs around heaven and watches things unfold down here on earth: so they think. Except when I’m in urgent need of rescue. Then he better come to my aid. That is the view of Deism – to which many of our Founding Fathers may have subscribed. God simply created the universe and wound up the clock and watched it run, with little if any direct involvement in our lives. Providential guidance may be provided, but little else.

But not this psalmist! We get a powerful picture of God’s involvement in the affairs of his people in these verses. He is personable and worthy to be praised. He is one to whom all people will come for help and salvation. He answers prayer. He formed all of creation: rivers, mountains, seas, plants, and people. He brings daylight and evening to pass each day. He provides water for the plants and brings forth grain and growth of all manner of plants.

God’s gift to us of creation is not only remarkable. It is gracious. Martin Luther speaks so well of this when he explains the first article of the Apostle’s Creed:

I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. [emphasis added]

This is most certainly true.

I didn’t deserve praise from our neighbor when she found out I worked more than just Sundays. But God deserves all that and more. This Psalm reminds me that God has not just wound up the universe and is sitting back and watching it run. It reminds me of God’s many ways of caring for me and all creatures. It reminds me that I can come to him with my prayers and requests, and my thanks and praise. It opens my eyes to the breadth of his care for us all. For all this it is my duty to thank, praise, serve, and obey him. This is most certainly true!

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