The year 2020 has been a crazy, and stress filled year. If we’re honest there have been times in 2020 when we doubted that God cared about what was happening to the world or us. If it wasn’t the global COVID-19 pandemic with all its twists and turns, of stay at home, wear a mask, social distance, don’t congregate in crowds, even at church; it was the instances of police brutality of people of color, or it was protest in which a very few people on all sides turned to violence, then it was a very contentious presidential election. Just a very difficult year.
David the writer of Psalm 65 suffered through very difficult times himself. He had to run for his life from Saul before he became king and then from his own son after becoming king. He may, as some of us, have felt that our relationship with God was somehow broken. That we had somehow done something to turn God against us.
It’s then we ask forgiveness for whatever caused this estrangement. Then we realize that God has not forsaken us even if we have sinned. We know that when we confess our sins He is faithful to forgive and restore us to righteousness.
1 John 1:8-9 GNT If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us. But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing.
It’s then we can be confident in our praise.
Psalm 65:1-3 GNT O God, it is right for us to praise you in Zion and keep our promises to you, because you answer prayers. People everywhere will come to you on account of their sins. Our faults defeat us, but you forgive them. (emphasis mine)
In the Old Testament sins could be forgiven through repentance and participation in animal sacrifice at the temple. Ultimately, Jesus’ death would fulfill the requirement for sacrifice.
Hebrews 10:12 GNT Christ, however, offered one sacrifice for sins, an offering that is effective forever, and then he sat down at the right side of God.
Because of His death, we are forgiven. We have all the more reason to declare, as David did;
Psalm 65:4 GNT Happy are those whom you choose, whom you bring to live in your sanctuary. We shall be satisfied with the good things of your house, the blessings of your sacred Temple.
The God of all creation loves us so much that he sent His Son to pay for all our sin.
David praises God for His mighty works in creation. God formed the mountains and is able to calm the mighty power of the seas. Creation itself joyfully proclaims God’s glory from morning to night.
Psalm 65:5-8 GNT You answer us by giving us victory, and you do wonderful things to save us. People all over the world and across the distant seas trust in you. You set the mountains in place by your strength, showing your mighty power. You calm the roar of the seas and the noise of the waves; you calm the uproar of the peoples. The whole world stands in awe of the great things that you have done. Your deeds bring shouts of joy from one end of the earth to the other.
Even during this time when many don’t know how they are going to survive financially because they have lost their jobs or have been laid off or furloughed. They, or a loved one may be sick with COVID-19 or some other illness, they may even have lost the primary breadwinner in the family. God is still able to provide.
David praises God for His bountiful provision of food and water. He looked at the fertile hills and streams, he recognized God’s goodness and care. God is the One who clothes the valleys with grain and the fields with flocks. Today we can praise God for provision of food, shelter, and clothing.
Psalm 65:9-13 GNT You show your care for the land by sending rain; you make it rich and fertile. You fill the streams with water; you provide the earth with crops. This is how you do it: you send abundant rain on the plowed fields and soak them with water; you soften the soil with showers and cause the young plants to grow. What a rich harvest your goodness provides! Wherever you go there is plenty. The pastures are filled with flocks; the hillsides are full of joy. The fields are covered with sheep; the valleys are full of wheat. Everything shouts and sings for joy.
Matthew 6:31-34 GNT “So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’ (These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.
God is the Creator and sustainer of all life.