Psalm 66 - Come and see what God has done
To the leader. A Song. A Psalm.
1) Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
2) sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise.
3) Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you.
4) All the earth worships you;
they sing praises to you,
sing praises to your name.” Selah
5) Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
6) He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in him,
7) who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let the rebellious not exalt themselves. Selah
8) Bless our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9) who has kept us among the living,
and has not let our feet slip.
10) For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11) You brought us into the net;
you laid burdens on our backs;
12) you let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.
13) I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
I will pay you my vows,
14) those that my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15) I will offer to you burnt offerings of fatlings,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah
16) Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for me.
17) I cried aloud to him,
and he was extolled with my tongue.
18) If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19) But truly God has listened;
he has given heed to the words of my prayer.
20) Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me.
Psalm 66 (NRSV*)
6th Sunday of Easter, Year A, verses 8-20
Proper 9, Sunday between July 3 and July 9, year C, verses 1-9
Proper 23, Sunday between October 9 and October 15, Year C, verses 1-12
The psalmist is often understood as "the author," but is just as truly the one chanting, singing, praying the psalm. The one speaking this psalm really wants others to know what God has done, is doing. It is testimony, a little teaching, and an invitation.
The testimony and teaching go hand-in-hand. Let me tell you what God has done... Awesome deeds delivered me and the people I am a part of. This refers to that Biblical paradigm of deliverance, the journey out of bondage and the miraculous passage through the sea, but may be understood more generally. God "has kept us among the living and has not let our feet slip."
As we move through the words of the psalm, we put this testimony in our mouths, and we pass knowledge of God on to others. God has done great things; the earth rejoices.
The testimony, though, describes a more complex view of God. The One who has supported us, who has not let our feet slip, has also laid burdens upon us, has tested us through our travails. The experience is that God can take us into places and situations we would not choose to visit on our own. We were angry and scared, we prayed desperate prayers and promises birthed by trouble.
Once we have journeyed through, praise and the best offerings we can bring is our desire and our duty. Once past the trials, once we have "passed the test," it is possible to recognize where the trials have led us. We may not seek out any of these challenges - yet with God's grace, we can find our selves in a spacious place. In this place of rescue and new possibility, we can be expansive in our thanks.
The opened-heart wants to invite others to stand in this place, to know God's saving power and join in praise.
"Come and see what God has done... Come and hear... and I will tell what God has done for me." Come near, pay attention, for there is a wonderful story to tell, a good news story, a God-with-us story. "Bless our God, O peoples!"
Francesco Peluso, Evening Prayer. Oil on canvas, 19th century. This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less.
* New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV), copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.