Saturday, January 14, 2017

Good and Plenty

Print Passage: Psalm 65:1-2, 9-13
Devotional Reading: Psalm 66:1-5

During recess or lunch period when I was young I would sneak behind the portables in the girls’ school yard which housed classrooms at Gundlach Elementary. I did not think I was doing anything bad. My grandmother lived next door and I just wanted to watch her. She loved to garden and her entire back yard was a garden. It was a thrill for me to watch. She went out to take care of her garden on a daily basis. So I watched her as much as possible. I saw her plant the seeds, rake out weeds, continuously bending over, sweating and waving at me. I remember watching the corn plants growing taller than her with its leaves swaying in the wind. I would watch her examine the tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, green peppers, and onions. Of course this was not all she had in her garden, but it is an example of her beautiful bounty. The praise of Psalm 66 gives the glory to Whom it is due for such great provision. It reads in part, “Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious. Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. All the earth shall worship You and sing praises to You. They shall sing praises to Your name.’ Selah” (Ps 66:1-4 NKJV). Although my grandmother worked hard, it was not she who caused her seeds to grow. Praise God for His marvelous works of provision. Hallelujah!

We are in Unit II – “Praise from and for God’s Creation” of the three units of the quarter. This is the third lesson of a five-lesson study. In the lesson today we shall focus on Psalm 65, a psalm of David which begins with a praise of celebration of God and promise to fulfill a vow to Him. It then moves on to discuss praise for the precipitation and pastures from God who shall always be our Provider.

This psalm was probably used as a high praise song. Praise should be an automatic response to the God who answers prayer forgives sin, and provides spiritual favor upon us. The psalmist wrote in verses 1 and 2, “Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion; And to You the vow shall be performed. O You who hear prayer, to You all flesh will come.” (NKJV) This is an invitation for God to be spiritually present. There was no temple in Jerusalem in David’s day, but Zion is the designated place of worship for the Israelites. It is the place where the City of David was built and the holy place for the king’s residence. So David, the psalmist invited the God of the Israelites to join them in Zion. Since the praise service is for God, it cannot begin without His presence. The fact that God hears and answers countless prayers for the multitude at the same time is beyond our understanding. So He is due a vow of praise. When God comes to Zion, the spiritual dwelling place, the psalmist promises to fulfill the vow of praise for His hearing and answering the prayers of all people. It is to God that all prayers are to be addressed. Jesus taught in the model prayer at Matt 6:9, “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” (NKJV) It is God to whom all people must come. The Apostle Paul wrote at Rom 10:12-13, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same LORD over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.’” (NKJV) Anyone who prays to God shall be saved. It is only He, the Provider of the universe, and not the small gods of the pagans who is able to hear and answer all prayers.

After the psalmist praises God in verses 3-8 for His justice, righteousness, blessings, holiness, and power over creation, David begins to praise God for the blessings of His rain to water the earth. Ps 65:9-10 reflects that precipitation is from the Provider alone stating, “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. You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its furrows. You make it soft with showers, You bless its growth.” (NKJV) On January 13, 2017 an ice storm began in the St. Louis metropolitan area with a covering of ¼ inch ice. Though there were not many falls and two deaths have been claimed due to the storm, more ice accumulation is expected. I tried to figure out what is the advantage of an ice storm to the earth. All I could say is that it makes sure it ends the droughts. However, it does not matter because everything God, our Creator, does is beyond our understanding as we are the created. God takes the dry land He created and waters it for fruitfulness for our blessing. We must not complain, but accept the weather and know it is how God provides for our good. He comes to the earth and makes sure there is enough precipitation to bless all life forms with the necessities of life. He brings balance to the world and drenches the furrows and ridges of a plowed field to smooth the land back out.

The river of God is not only a physical river which blesses creation with fruitfulness, but it is a spiritual river. When Jesus was speaking to the Samaritan woman at John 4:13 He stated, “ whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst…the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life”. (NKJV) Also the Apostle John saw an earthly paradise with a river of life when he was on the island of Patmos. The river was described by its fountainhead and by the tree of life which was in the midst of its stream and known for its fruitfulness. John wrote at Rev 22:1-2, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” (NKJV) The river proceeding from the throne of God and the Mediator Jesus Christ is a spiritual river. All earthly rivers are muddy even though we are blessed with provision. The spiritual river is clear and refreshing, giving eternal life to all who will drink.

After we praise God for the precipitation for our sustenance from the Provider, we must praise God for the land where harvest and blessings are found. David wrote at Ps 65:11-13, “You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance. They drop on the pastures of the wilderness, and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered with grain; they shout for joy, they also sing.” (NKJV) These are words of harvest celebration. The crown is the highest honor God grants holding creation in high esteem. He has crowned the harvest season with goodness. Everywhere He goes there is an abundance of bounty. The abundance is not only in the inhabited land, but it is also in the wilderness, the deserts. His goodness of abundance does not overlook the little hills where few things can grow. The hills are said to be glad. The pastures are clothed with flocks of sheep and goats. The flocks are so abundant it is as if the pastures themselves are clothed in wool. The valleys are also covered with grain (corn, crops) which grow near the river. All of the harvest celebrates and shouts for joy. They all sing God’s praises, not just for a Thanksgiving service or a day. The Scripture reads “…they shout for joy, they also sing.” There is praise of celebration for every moment in the harvest cycle.

I am reminded of the praise song, “Every day is a day of thanksgiving. God’s been so good to me, every day He’s blessing me. Every day is a day of thanksgiving; take the time to glorify the Lord today.” Let us always be grateful that our God, the Provider and Creator, is responsible for our well-being and praise Him for the many blessings seen and unseen in the past, present, and to come in the future.



Written by Deborah C. Davis

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