Psalm 65 - Overcomer - You Crown the Year with Your Goodness
I put this psalm to music shortly after my 65th birthday. It is my prayer for my 65th year. For this reason, this psalm is like a good friend to me.
Sequence of this psalm:
Silence, praise (v1)
A vow paid (v1)
Him that hears prayer (v2)
All flesh will at the end stand before God (v2)
Sins are stronger than me (v3)
Forgiven of sins (v3)
Caused to draw near to God (v4)
Abide in His courts (v4)
Satisfied with His goodness from His church (v4)
Miracles in answer to prayer (v5)
God of salvation (V5)
Blessing to all the earth (VV5-13)
"This is one of the most delightful hymns in any language. We shall view in Ps 65:1-4 the way of approach to God, then from Ps 65:5-8 we shall see the Lord in answer to prayer performing wonders for which he is praised, and then from Ps 65:9-13 we shall sing the special harvest song." - C. H. Spurgeon
heading - This psalm is both a psalm (mizmor) and a song (shir) and it is for the overcomer. This psalm is the 1st of a group of 4 psalm-songs that are to the overcomer, Psalms 65-68. There are 3 other overcomer psalm-songs: 75-76 & 88.
v1 I have 2 favorite verses in this psalm, this verse and v10. I also love v11. This verse opens the door for all the following blessings.
Most translate this verse as "Praise waits for Thee in silence", but there is no verb "waits" in this sentence. The phrase "to <person> <noun>" usually means "<noun> belongs to that person" (i.e. Ps 47:9; 62:11-12).
The words "silence" and "praise" are in apposition. They are one thing. When we come to God, it is good to first be silent, to stop my thoughts, so I can listen to God.
"We all must take the time to be silent and to contemplate, especially those who live in big cities where everything moves so fast ... I always begin my prayer in silence, for it is in the silence of the heart that God speaks. God is the friend of silence - we need to listen to God because it's not what we say but what He says to us and through us that matters. Prayer feeds the soul - as blood is to the body, prayer is to the soul - and it brings you closer to God. It also gives you a clean and pure heart. A clean heart can see God, can speak to God, and can see the love of God in others." - Mother Teresa
From our side it is silence followed by praise. From God's side to us it is a small voice followed by silence (1Ki 19:12-13) to allow what God says to sink in.
Where does silence, praise belong to God? In Zion, that is in the gatherings together of all God's people as one (Ps 87.2). In corporate gatherings we need to have uncomfortable silence so we can hear God together.
"Certainly, when the soul is most filled with adoring awe, she is least content with her own expressions, and feels most deeply how inadequate are all mortal songs to proclaim the divine goodness. A church, bowed in silent adoration by a profound sense of divine mercy, would certainly offer more real praise than the sweetest voices aided by pipes and strings; yet, vocal music is not to be neglected, for this sacred hymn was meant to be sung. It is well before singing to have the soul placed in a waiting attitude, and to be humbly conscious that our best praise is but silence compared with Jehovah's glory. " - Spurgeon
As I pray, my attitude should be one of silent expectation. - Andrew Murray
As I wait silently before God, I become strong in the assurance of faith. - Andrew Murray
A vow is a solemn promise we make to God. Ecclesiastes 5 puts together silence before speaking to God with vowing a vow (Eccl 5:1-7). Before God, silence is followed by praise and sometimes a solemn vow. I made a vow for this year to spend 2 minutes of silence before prayer each day. Don't make a vow unless you will fulfill it.
Vows from human beings are precious to God. They are gifts to Him.
"In Zion" does not modify "pay a vow" because of the "and" between them. Vows should be made privately when there is no pressure to please men. It is usually good to share them publicly after making them in private so that others will help you fulfill it. The powerful silence, praise in the corporate gatherings of the church, especially conferences, may result in private individual vows. Vows are mentioned in the NT in only 3 places: Acts 18:18; 21:23; James 5:15.
We are not to forget our vows, or to redeem them to be seen of men-- unto God alone must they be performed, with a single eye to his acceptance. ... A vow unkept will burn the conscience like a hot iron. Vows of service, of donation, of praise, or whatever they may be, are no trifles; and in the day of grateful praise they should, without fail, be fulfilled to the utmost of our power. - Spurgeon
v2 - "Thou Who hears prayer" could be the ending of v1 or the beginning of v2. Biblical Hebrew provides punctuation by use of the prefix "and". Since no "and" is given here, I believe it means that "Thou who hears prayer" should be both the ending of v1 and the beginning of v2. Goldingay is the only translation I know that puts the phrase at the end of v1.
When we make a vow to God, we do so realizing He is the One who hears prayer.
"As far as You" is literally "until You". It is translated "as far as" when the object is a place (i.e. Gen 11:31 ...). Other verses which say use the preposition with God as the object are Isa 45:24, etc..
I think the meaning here is that God is the end of the line destination of all mankind, good or bad. We must all appear before the judgment seat. This realization brings in the next verse.
v3 - literally "matters of iniquities".
When David speaks that matters iniquities are stronger than he is, he speaks for himself, in first person singular. When he speaks that God will forgive sins, he speaks in first person plural.
v4 - "whom You choose and draw near" is God's doing. Drawing near to God takes us and God working together (Jam 4:8;Joh 6:44), but it is mainly God's doing.
This verse starts in the singular, "him whom You choose and cause to come near". These are individual things. God chooses us individually and draws us near to Him individually. "He stays in Your courts" is also individual.No one can do that for you, and you can't follow a crowd to do it.
Then it changes to plural, "we shall be satisfied with goodness from Your house, Your holy temple." Satisfaction from the the Lord's house is corporate.
The change from singular to plural also tells us that if one individual is chosen by the Lord and is drawn near to Him, and stays in the Lord's courts, then many will be satisfied with the Lord's goodness in His local church and universal church. C. H. Spurgeon was such a person.
The Lord's house signifies our local church. The Lord's holy temple is the fellowship with all Christians with many practices and views.
To just stay in the Lord's courts goes back to silence, praise belonging to God in Zion in v1. Lord, I pray this year that You choose me and draw me nearer to You, and that I stay in Your courts, satisfied with You.
To stay in the Lord's courts and be satisfied with the goodness of His house is the top portion in the universe (Rev .3:12; Ps 84:10). This is a corporate portion in the oneness of God's people. This goes back to "In Zion" in v1.
To dwell in the courts of the Great King is to be ennobled; to dwell there for ever is to be emparadised: yet such is the portion of every man whom God has chosen and caused to approach unto him, though once his iniquities prevailed against him. - Spurgeon
'If you would come to the church and enjoy the goodness of the house of God, it is a strong proof that you have been chosen and blessed by God. (Ps 36:8) ... He has not only chosen us, but also caused us to dwell in His courts. ... The Lord who has chosen us has also caused us to be here. The more we enjoy the fatness and goodness of the house, the stronger our assurance is that we have been chosen and caused by God to be in such a place. We must all bow before Him and say, "Lord, it is Thy doing; it is all of Thee that we are in Thy building today." ' - Witness Lee
v5 - God answers our prayers from v2.
God answering our prayers should amaze us with awe.
When I was unsaved, I prayed for God to help me, and I vowed that I would believe in Him if He did it. Miraculously, He did it, and I was so terrified because now I knew there really was a God and He heard what I said, and He knew how sinful I was.
God's memorial is that he hears prayer, and his glory is that he answers it in a manner fitted to inspire awe in the hearts of his people. The saints, in the commencement of the Psalm, offered praise in reverential silence; and now, in the like awe stricken spirit, they receive answers to their prayers. - Spurgeon
Thou Confidence of all the ends of distant lands and sea goes back to "all flesh" in v2. This whole psalm tells that the God of Israel is not the God of the Jews only, but of all nations (Rom 3:29).
Thou Confidence ... goes with both the end of v5 and the beginning of v6, similar to "Thou Who hearest prayer" in v2.
There is no room for self confidence on land or sea, since God is the only true confidence of men on earth or ocean. - Spurgeon
v6 - The One who by His power established the mountains is the One we are silent before, praise, vow to, Who hears our prayers, and Whom we draw near to. There is nothing He cannot do.
Philosophers of the forget God school are too much engrossed with their laws of upheaval to think of the Upheaver. Their theories of volcanic action and glacier action, etc., etc., are frequently used as bolts and bars to shut the Lord out of his own world. Our poet is of another mind, and sees God's hand settling Alps and Andes on their bases, and therefore he sings in his praise. Let me for ever be just such an unphilosophical simpleton as David was, for he was nearer akin to Solomon than any of our modern theorists. - Spurgeon
The raging waves and tumultous peoples are unrest within and without.
Silence, praise (v1), and staying in God's courts (v4) are rest unto our soul (Mat 11:28-30).
Glory be unto God who maintains the fabric of social order, and checks the wicked, who would fain overthrow all things. The child of God in seasons of trouble should fly at once to him who stills the seas: nothing is too hard for him. - Spurgeon
v8 - Lit. You make the outgoings of morning and evening to shout in awe.
The beauty of the daily sunrise and sunset shout the awesomeness of God to the whole world.
This is a great thing that people fear God due to His creation, because that is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10). Dennis Prager asks why colleges today teach such nonsense? Because though they learn a lot, they do not fear God. So they have no discernment and can't put information together to make wisdom.
Signs of God's presence are not few, nor confined to any one region. ... These tokens are sometimes terrible phenomena in nature--such as earthquakes, pestilence, tornado, or storm; and when these are seen, even the most barbarous people tremble before God. At other times they are dread works of providence-- such as the overthrow of Sodom, and the destruction of Pharaoh. The rumor of these judgments travels to earth's utmost verge, and impresses all people with a fear and trembling at such a just and holy God. We bless God that we are not afraid but rejoice at his tokens; with solemn awe we are glad when we behold his mighty acts. We fear, but not with slavish fear. - Spurgeon
v9 - lit. "and watered it"
"Every spring is like a Divine visit." - F. B. Meyer
The stream of God is a figure of the Holy Spirit (Ps 46:4). What God does physically for the earth is a figure of what He does spiritually for the church and mankind.
O Lord, in this manner visit thy church, and my poor, parched, and withering piety. Make thy grace to overflow towards my graces; water me, for no plant of thy garden needs it more. - Spurgeon
v10 - " All this may furnish us with a figure of the operations of the Holy Spirit in beating down high thoughts, filling our lowly desires, softening the soul, and causing every holy thing to increase and spread. " - Spurgeon
Furrows signify people who are suffering. Clods are people who are rough and/or hard. Lord do this in the church this year. Fill those who are suffering, smooth those who are rough, soften hard hearts, and grow and bear fruit in them.
This is my other favorite verse in this psalm, besides v1.
God's paths culminate in the golden street of the New Jerusalem with the river of water of life flowing and the tree of life growing (Rev 21:21; 22:1-2).
v12 - "Not alone where man is found do the showers descend, but away in the lone places, where only wild animals have their haunt, there the bountiful Lord makes the refreshing rain to drop. Ten thousand oases smile while the Lord of mercy passes by. The birds of the air, the wild goats, and the fleet stags rejoice as they drink from the pools, new filled from heaven. The most lonely and solitary souls God will visit in love. And the little hills rejoice on every side." - Spurgeon
A pasture in the wilderness would be an obscure church that no one has heard of. They have a little strength, but keep the Lord's word and don't deny His name (Rev 3:8).
A pasture contains many little hills. If a pasture is a local church, then the little hills are small groups within the church.
v13 "They also sing. The voice of nature is articulate to God; it is not only a shout, but a song. Well ordered are the sounds of animate creation as they combine with the equally well tuned ripple of the waters, and sighings of the wind. Nature has no discords. Her airs are melodious, her chorus is full of harmony. All, all is for the Lord; the world is a hymn to the Eternal, blessed is he who, hearing, joins in it, and makes one singer in the mighty chorus. " - Spurgeon
- Steve Miller
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