Psalm 66 - Overcomer - Through the Fire and Through the Water
I put this psalm to music shortly after my 66th birthday.
Usually it takes me a long time with lots of struggle to make a psalm into a song. This one just flowed easily.
This psalm mentions fear-inspiring or fear of God 3 times (vv 3, 5, 16) and "wonders" once in v5.
There are no requests in this psalm, but praise, thanks and experiential wisdom on prayer.
Structure of this psalm:
1. Call for all the earth to make a joyful noise unto God vv 1-4 <Selah>
2. The song sung by all the earth vv 5-7 <Selah>
3. Exhortation from the psalmist for all peoples to bless our God vv 8 - 12
3. The psalmist's offerings to God in God's house vv 13-15 <Selah>
4. The psalmist's testimony about prayer to all who fear God vv16-20
- This psalm is both a psalm (mizmor) and a song (shir) and it is for the overcome
r. This psalm is the 2nd 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.
"Resurrection" in the heading comes from LXX. The Greek word used by the LXX here was also used by LXX in 2 verses in Maccabees
referring to resurrection. The LXX also used the same Greek word to translate "rise up" in Zep 3:8; Lam 3:63 & Dan 11:20
. The same Greek word is used throughout the NT to refer to the resurrection.
All the earth is mostly the gentiles, and includes Israel also.
- We should declare such things to God.
Because of God's fearsome acts, people that are opposed to Him and His people will praise Him hypocritically. This is not good, but this will happen.
- This worship from all the earth is in contrast to the hypocritical worship in 3b.
- Come and see is imperative.
Is this verse the beginning of the song that all the earth sings to God's name in v4? I think so. That may be the reason for repeating "sing" in v4. If so, the song of all the earth ends at the <Selah> after v7. So the song of all the earth runs from <Selah> to <Selah>, from v5 through v7.
An argument against v5 beginning the song sung by all the earth is that then the <Selah> occurs within a sentence, separating the verb "sing" from the words that are sung. I think if "God's wonders, come and see!" were the only lines of the song, then there should not be a <Selah> separating it from "They'll sing". But if the song is multiple lines, then I think it makes sense to offset the song within the song by <Selah>'s as a section of the psalm.
- 6a The verb is perfect (past), referring to the Red Sea crossing.
6b is imperfect, referring to the present and future.
6c lit. there we will rejoice in Him
The miracles of crossing the sea and river are also for the future (Isa 11:15
God did these wonders in the past and will continue to do them.
Even till the close of all things, the marvellous works of God at the Red Sea will be the subject of meditation and praise; for, standing on the sea of glass mingled with fire, the triumphal armies of heaven sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb. - C. H. Spurgeon
Even the stubborn can be saved (Ps 68:6,18
), which I was.
The above are all the uses of the Hebrew word in the Bible.
The meaning here is that God is in control and keeps diligent watch on the world, but He uses the measured persecution by the world to keep His people and the nations from being stubborn and proud (Ezek 31:14
Most translations translate 7c as a prayer, "Let not the rebellious exalt themselves." This would be to take the 3mp verb as a jussive. (Versions that do not translate it as a prayer are: HCSB, YLT, Leeser, JB2000, Goldingay, Geneva, Bishop's, Miles Coverdale, Wycliffe)
Gentiles who believe in the Messiah, not millennium gentiles, who are the nations outside Israel during the millennium. The experiences in the following verses vv 9-12 are experiences of God's chosen people, yet addressed to "you peoples". These are the Christians who come from all peoples.
- lit. has not given our feet to totter.
This is God's work of preparation in us before the trial. We see this when we look back.
v10 - The day may come when, as in this case, we shall make hymns out of our griefs, and sing all the more sweetly because our mouths have been purified with bitter draughts. - Spurgeon
lit. set pressure on our loins
- The word for "overflow" is only used here and in Ps 23:5
- From here on the Psalm becomes personal, switching to the first person signular pronouns. We need to offer to God personally and individually.
We should not appear before the Lord empty-handed when we go to church. We should have some experience to share.
The church is where we should share what the Lord has done for us
- lit. when I was in trouble
If I have made a vow to the Lord and did not fulfill it, that would be sin in my heart in v18
I like the way the psalm says "which my lips have released". The vow was in my heart for a while, but I held back my lips from speaking it. Eventually my lips released it, and I was committed.
- This is a picture of what a church meeting should be.
Victoriously passing through the sufferings in vv10-12 produces the rich offerings to Christ in the church.
- This verse is addressed to all that fear God among all nations, not just Christians and Jews. This is advice on how to pray, and is the conclusion of this joyful psalm. God hears prayers from everyone who fears God.
Out of many verses worth memorizing in this psalm, this is my favorite.
- "under my tongue" means the worship was deeper than the tongue (Matt 15:8
) in contrast to the hypocritical worship in 3b
- The antidote to hypocritical worship in 3b.
This verse is unique among the verses of this psalm in that it is the psalmist's advice inserted within the praise and testimony. It is crucial advice (Mat 5:23
A salient thing about this psalm is that it does not mention God's name, Jehovah, but it says "God" (Elohim), 8 times (vv 1,3,5,8,10,16,19,20) and Lord (Adonai) once (v18). There are other psalms that do not use the name Jehovah or Jah (Ps 43-45, 49-53, 57, 60-63, 65-67, 82, 114). Almost all of these psalms are in Book 2 of the Psalms (Ps 42-72). (Psalms 82 & 114 are short with only 8 verses each). I do not know why, and I have not found any commentary worth repeating on the subject. It is something to keep in my heart to maybe be revealed in the future.
- Steve Miller
copyright 12/16/2019 voiceInWilderness.info
Composer: Early American Melody
Make a joyful noise unto God, all the earth.
2 Glorify His name. Praise His glorious worth
Say to God, "How fearsome Your works so mighty.
Your enemies praise You in hypocrisy."
All the earth shall bow to Thee and sing to Thee.
They'll sing forth Your name, <Selah> 5
"God's wonders, come and see!
He's fearsome in doings on the sons of men,
6 as when
He turned the sea into a dry land.
The river they'll pass through on foot, rejoice there.
He rules by His power forever and e'er
His eyes in the nations day and night keep watch,
restrains the stubborn from themselves to exalt."
Bless our God, you peoples. Make His praises heard,
Who fixed our soul in life, and set our feet firm,
for You, O God, proved us, tried us as silver.
You brought us to a net, laid on us pressure.
You have caused men our head roughshod
to ride o'er.
We went through the fire and through the water,
and You brought us out, made our cup
With burnt-off'rings into Thy house I will go.
I will pay my vows 14
which my lips have released,
and my mouth uttered when I needed relief.
I'll offer to Thee burnt-off'rings of fat beasts
with rams, bullocks and goats for a fragrance sweet.
Come, hear, ye that fear God, and recount I will
the wondrous things that He has done for my soul.
I called unto Him with my mouth, and He was
exalted in my heart underneath my tongue.
If I regarded in my heart transgression,
my Lord would not hear, 19 but God paid attention.
He has attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God, Who has taken up my care.
He has not turned away my prayer nor my plea
nor taken away His mercy from with me.
As You, O God, proved us, tried us as silver:
We went through the fire and through the water.
Nehemiah 9:29 And you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey.
Psalm 78:8 and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Isaiah 30:1 "Ah, stubborn children," declares the LORD, "who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin;
65:2 I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices;
Jeremiah 5:23 But this people hath a stubborn and a rebellious heart; they have turned aside and are gone.
6:28 They are all stubbornly rebellious, going about with slanders; they are bronze and iron; all of them act corruptly.
Hosea 4:16 Like a stubborn heifer, Israel is stubborn; can the LORD now feed them like a lamb in a broad pasture?
Zechariah 7:11 But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear.
Isaiah 1:23 Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not bring justice to the fatherless, and the widow's cause does not come to them.
Hosea 9:15 Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal; there I began to hate them. Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house. I will love them no more; all their princes are rebels.
Deuteronomy 21:18 If a man have an stubborn and rebellious son, who hearkens not unto the voice of his father, nor unto the voice of his mother, and they have chastened him, but he hearkens not unto them;
19 then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
20 and they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he hearkens not unto our voice; he is a profligate and a drunkard.
Proverbs 7:10 And behold, there met him a woman in the attire of a harlot, and subtle of heart.
11 She is clamorous and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:
Psalm 68:6 God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.
18 You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there.
Psalm 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Matthew 15:8 This people honour me with the lips, but their heart is far away from me;
;Isa 29:13 And the Lord saith, Forasmuch as this people draw near with their mouth, and honour me with their lips, but their heart is removed far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught of men;
;Ezek 33:31 And they come unto thee as a people come, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they do them not; for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their dishonest gain.
2Maccabees 7:14 So when he was ready to die he said thus, It is good, being put to death by men, to look for hope from god to be raised up again by him: as for thee, thou shalt have no resurrection to life.
12:43 And when he had made a gathering throughout the company to the sum of two thousand drachms of silver, he sent it to Jerusalem to offer a sin offering, doing therein very well and honestly, in that he was mindful of the resurrection:
Zephaniah 3:8 Therefore wait ye for me, saith Jehovah, until the day that I rise up to the prey; for my determination is to assemble the nations, that I may gather the kingdoms together, to pour upon them mine indignation, -- all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
Lamentations 3:63 Behold thou their sitting down and their rising up: I am their song.
Daniel 11:20 And in his place shall one stand up who shall cause the exactor to pass through the glory of the kingdom; but in a few days he shall be broken, neither in anger nor in battle.
Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
Isaiah 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to acquire the remnant of his people which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
12 And he shall lift up a banner to the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
13 And the envy of Ephraim shall depart, and the troublers of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim will not envy Judah, and Judah will not trouble Ephraim:
14 but they shall fly upon the shoulder of the Philistines towards the west; together shall they spoil the sons of the east; they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab, and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
15 And Jehovah will utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind will he shake his hand over the river, and will smite it into seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.
16 And there shall be a highway for the remnant of his people which will be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day when he went up out of the land of Egypt.
Zechariah 10:11 And he shall pass through the sea of affliction, and shall smite the billows in the sea, and all the depths of the Nile shall dry up; and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away.
Matthew 5:23 If therefore thou shouldest offer thy gift at the altar, and there shouldest remember that thy brother has something against thee,
24 leave there thy gift before the altar, and first go, be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as those who are of the nations: for they think they shall be heard through their much speaking.
Ezekiel 31:14 to the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves in their stature, nor set their top amidst the thick boughs, and that none of them that drink water stand up in his height by himself; for they are all given over unto death in the lower parts of the earth, in the midst of the children of men, with them that go down to the pit.
- Steve Miller
copyright 12/16/2019 voiceInWilderness.info