Psalm 65:1-13 Thanksgiving for a Good Harvest

This is a song of praise for God's spiritual blessings to His people and His kind providence over all the earth. Psalm 65 begins with praise to God in Zion (verse 1), a setting which continues through verse 4. Even here the topics of praise are varied, including prayer being answered (verse 2), sins being forgiven (verse 3), and the blessedness of dwelling with God (verse 4). Verse 5 turns briefly to God's mighty acts of deliverance but then quickly moves to "the ends of the earth" and "the farthest seas." This global setting stays in view through verse 8, asserting God's might with references to the mountains (verse 6), the seas and the "tumult of peoples" (verse 7), and the farthest points east and west (verse 8). Verses 9-13 maintain the focus on the earth, but the emphasis moves from God's might to God's bounty in the harvest, which is described in lavishly descriptive language. This lavishness or abundance might well be said to be the unifying force throughout the psalm. The descriptions of the earth are almost mythical or imaginary sounding throughout. This mythical quality, combined with the exclusively generous description of God's dealings with humankind that pervade the psalm, gives the attentive reader or hearer an overwhelming sense of the life-giving presence of God [Jehovah Jireh-God will see and/or will provide]. 

The motion of the psalm from quiet, expectant waiting to a summons for the creation itself to join the choir of praise suggests that the journey from expectation to exaltation is just that -- a journey. Many of us, perhaps most of us, find ourselves somewhere in the middle of the journey. We recognize that God in Christ has answered our prayers. In our baptisms we have been claimed by God and brought into the richness of God’s presence. Indeed, we have been incorporated into the body of Christ. And yet, for many of us, perhaps most of us, chaotic powers still affect us. Whether the chaos is a still unstable economy, a newly unstable marriage, grief, illness, loneliness, or a sense that our lives are adrift in a formless chaotic sea, our God remains master of the tumult. Or, better, we can confidently claim that this God has joined us in our tumult. If we find ourselves awash, we know that God in Christ has likewise suffered as we do. Christ experienced loss and being lost to the depth that we have and more, and yet he comes to us with the firm intention to stay with us until we arrive at that valley where even we, the flock of his pasture, will to shout and sing with joy. 

Posted on November 15, 2014 .