Reading: Psalms 66-68
Click on the link for the reading to read the Psalms for this week. As we read, let us not do so in haste. Take time to read each Psalm at least three times: once to understand the content, once as a poem or song to feel the meaning, and once as a prayer to appropriate the Psalm into your life. There will often be a hymn attached at the bottom of the page that helps bring meaning to one of the Psalms for the week.
PSALM 66: How Awesome Are Your Deeds
Psalm 66 is a song that celebrates the deeds of God for the people of God. Verses 1-12 is a hymn of praise, and verses 13-20 is a song of thanksgiving. The hymn is congregational and the song is individual. The psalm speaks of the passage from death to life (see verse 9). In the exodus (verses 5-7), in recurring exoduses in new circumstances (verses 8-12), and individual experiences of deliverance (verses 13-20), God is at work bringing life out of death.
PSALM 67: That Your Ways May be Known
The first verse of the psalm is a creative reuse of the first two sentences of the priestly blessing given in Numbers 6:24-26. The blessing is used here to introduce a congregational prayer for a blessing that will make the Lord’s way known among all the peoples of the earth. The promise of blessing to Abraham and Sarah and their descendants will somehow involve “all the families of the earth.” Paul used this psalm as support for his leadership in taking the gospel to the ends of the earth and for opening the church to all nations (Gal. 3:6-8, 28). In our contemporary world, plagued by injustice and divided by extremes of poverty and wealth, it is crucial that we hear the message of Psalm 67. God rules the world and intends blessing for all the world’s people. This means that God wills justice for all, including the equitable distribution of the earth’s “harvest” (verse 6). The psalm speaks against our current climate of racial, ethnic and national exclusivism and hate.
PSALM 68: My God, My King!
“Let God Arise!” Psalm 68 begins with this invocation of God as the divine warrior whose victory established his reign in the world and whose strength is the salvation of his people. The focus is on the march from Sinai through the wilderness and the battles with the nations who opposed the progress of God and Israel to the sanctuary that represents God’s rule over Israel and the kingdoms of the world. This march signifies God’s reign in human time and space. The reign of God is never fully manifested; it is always opposed. The people of Israel and Jerusalem were regularly assaulted; Jesus was crucified. The proclamation of God’s reign is also always polemical. For the psalmist to say that Yahweh is sovereign means that Baal is not. For first-century Christianity to say that Jesus is Lord meant that Caesar was not. For contemporary Christians to say that God rules the world and that Jesus is Lord is to deny allegiance to a host of other claims—national security, political parties, economic systems, ethnic heritage, job, family, self. Ultimately salvation is to be found in submission to God rather than in the assertion of self (see verses 19-20)
This is the Psalm in hymn form. Read or sing it through with melody to give the Psalm another dimension.
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