To You belongs silence [the submissive wonder of reverence], and [it bursts into] praise in Zion, O God;And to You the vow shall be performed. O You who hear prayer,To You all mankind comes. Wickedness and guilt prevail against me;Yet as for our transgressions,You forgive them [removing them from Your sight]. Blessed is the one whom You choose and bring nearTo dwell in Your courts.We will be filled with the goodness of Your house,Your holy temple. By awesome and wondrous things You answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation,You who are the trust and hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea; Who creates the mountains by His strength,Being clothed with power, Who stills the roaring of the seas,The roaring of their waves,And the tumult of the peoples, So they who dwell at the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs [the evidence of Your presence].You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy. You visit the earth and make it overflow [with water];You greatly enrich it;The stream of God is full of water;You provide their grain, when You have prepared the earth. You water its furrows abundantly,You smooth its ridges;You soften it with showers,You bless its growth. You crown the year with Your bounty,And Your paths overflow. The pastures of the wilderness drip [with dew],And the hills are encircled with joy. The meadows are clothed with flocksAnd the valleys are covered with grain;They shout for joy and they sing.
Remember Naomi? Her bittersweet life story unfolds in the eighth book of the Bible, Ruth.
Her home? A town whose very name spoke of its abundance- Bethlehem- house of bread. Her husband? A good man whose name spoke of his relationship with the Lord-Emielech- my God is king. Her name? Descriptive of appearance and temperament- Naomi- pleasant , lovely, delightful.
But the house of bread became the place of famine. Hardship forced the family into migration. The husband died. Her two sons likewise- each leaving a widow with no children. Spiritually and emotionally depleted from over ten years as an alien in sorrow, she returns home.
“Don’t call me pleasant anymore,” she tells her old friends. “Just call me bitter.” That was the new name she gave herself- Mara- or bitter.
Like many of us, Naomi was too hard on herself. A bitter woman does not win the love of a daughter-in-law like Ruth, nor influence her to serve the same Lord.
Naomi ended well. In the final scene from her life we see her contented, holding her grandson Obed who, in turn, became mush later the grandfather of the man who wrote this psalm- her great-great-grandson David.
This psalm resonates with contentment. Like his ancestor Naomi, David also knew something about the long trail of tears. But here there is no sign of weeping, need, hunger, or want.
Psalm 65 is one of calm and repose which mark the atmosphere. Nothing in this psalm mentions enemies, foes, or conspirators. Herein lies no feelings of abandonment, no cries of desperation, no dark defiles of pain, nor any sense of being at the ends of the earth.
It is in those moments when we are passing through difficult experiences that we may wonder whether there are really such moments as those described in Psalm 65. Can there actually be times when turbulence is absent? Of course, the answer is yes.
Psalm 65 is written in harvest time when all has gone well. The thrashing floors are filled with grain diametrically contrasting with the failure of harvest experienced by Naomi. In such time, “Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion.”(verse 1)
In this season God has come through and it is time to pay our vows, to keep the promises we have made to Him in times of trouble. Psalm 65 says the before contemplating the bounty of harvest, David celebrates God who makes our inner lives fruitful and beautiful.
Once we were overwhelmed by sin, but now we have received forgiveness. Like the prodigal son, we have gone into a far country, but now we live in His courts and our lives are being filled with good things.
God is not only God over our personal lives and Lord over the harvest, He is also the awesome Creator who formed the mountains and holds back the oceans and stills the turmoil of the nations of the world. Should we not then conclude that if He controls nature and nations, can He not also rule over our difficult situations? Cannot the the One who has the whole world in His hands, also hold us?
Cannot at both dawn and sunset we express praise to Him through songs of joy? That would be quite the contrast of perspective than our groans when we drag ourselves out of bed or those long hours of sleepless dread as we experience the deepening of the dark night. In its final verses, Psalm 65 celebrates the time of harvest. We should note the words: fullness, enrich, abundantly, drench, soften, bless, crown, bounty, overflow, abundance, clothed, gladness, covered for there is no poverty when God finishes His blessing.
Perhaps if Naomi had known the outcome of her difficult years when she was experiencing relocation, grief, feelings of emptiness and worthless, add death, no doubt she would have welcomed Psalm 65 to recharge her faith batteries. But it wasn’t available because David had not yet been born. However, unlike Naomi, we have not only David but the entire Bible with all the richness of the promises of God. We all know that Jesus Christ has been resurrected from the dead and along with the Father, He will “graciously give us all things” and we know that “all things work for the good of those who love him” according to Romans 8: 28.
I’m glad that just as there are psalms expressing our heartfelt need because of the “famines” of life, there are also psalms like Psalm 65 which express fullness and joy.
Proverbs tells us that there is a season for everything. In those difficult seasons let us cry out to God in our anguish. In those seasons of harvest and bounty, when all is well let us lift up our praise like Psalm 65 does.
During seasons of harsh and difficult circumstances, let this psalm become the telescope of faith that lets you view the land of promise God is preparing for you yet to come.
In conclusion let us learn from the apostle Paul who writes, “in everything I have learned to be content.