Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Psalm 66 calls for all the earth to shout out to the Lord God. This includes those who have believed and trusted Him and those who have not. It’s one thing to say that God is to be praised and exalted among those who trust Him. It’s another thing altogether to say that He should receive praise and honor from all, even those who don’t trust Him. But that’s exactly what we see in Psalm 77, especially in verses 3-4.
We notice there is an element of fear involved in this. I recently looked at a chart which an aquaintance of mine is developing, speaking of the challenges presented by different people and the way the Gospel of Christ can address all. It’s a good and interested chart, but I’m pointing out to the developer that it addresses all problems in terms of falsely secure Christians. I hope he will nuance it to deal with those who would be identified in Psalm 66:3 as God’s enemies. With no background in Christ, we may well be looking at an entirely different set of reactions to difficult circumstances. This is especially because of the fear inherent in approaching someone we think may just be Lord of all but whom we have ignored and despised.
What happens to those who come cringing to God in this Psalm? We really aren’t told specifically. The Psalm moves on to say “All the earth worships you” (v. 4a, ESV). Apparently those enemies of God are included in “all the earth.” When we have come before the Lord, even in fear and dread, we are confronted with God’s glory. We see the things He has done. We realize that He is the one who rescues His people even when no human means could possibly do so.
Something this Psalm does, as does much of Scripture, is to point us to definitive actions God has done at specific times and places. The Scripture points us to the historical reality of God’s work. It is not nearly so concerned with our feelings or emotions. It is rooted in historical fact. The real God has worked in real places, at real times, doing real things. If we want to find personal hope, we should look at those real patterns of activity and ask ourselves if we have reason to think God has changed in any of His character or attitudes. The answer is that He has never changed and He never will. This brings hope and joy. It will result in feelings and emotions, driven by facts. Look to the Lord’s activity, then rejoice in Him.
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