Monday, 20 January 2014

Psalm 66 - Messiah and his ransomed Israel praising the prayer-hearing God.

This is at once a solemn Psalm and a lively Temple song. It is especially the song of Messiah and the Church of Israel - a kind of Red Sea song, sung, however, in Canaan.

"Raise the shout of joy!
All the earth to God.
Show forth the glory of his name.
Give glory to him as his praise."

Then leading us to such scenes as were spoken in 65:5
"Say to God, how awful are these works of yours!"

There is a Bethel-solemnity in these scenes, though they bring us to the very gate of heaven -
"All the earth shall worship you.
They sing! They sing your name! Selah

This Selah-pause divides the Psalm into portions at suitable times, and intimates a change of scene or tone. Here, as usual, it gives time for solemn thought; and then an invitation is given to men to "Come and see."

As John 1:26,27, at Christ's First Coming, and Rev 6:3,4,5,7, in events leading on to his Second -
"Come and see the works of God!
Awful in his dealing to the sons of men." (v5)

And when we have cast our eye back to Red Sea and Jordan wonders, and have seen Him to be the same forever, still subduing the nations, another, "Selah" gives us time to pause and adore. But the harp is soon struck again (v8),
"Bless our God, you nations"

The Jews are now inviting the Gentiles; for the Jews are life from the dead to the world. They tell how their God refined them; how He "laid pressure on their loins," the seat of strength; yet made their trials act as a furnace to take away the dross.

Even "frail man" were made strong against them; yet Israel passed through desert and flood; and, at length, reached "The wealthy place" (v12) - affluence - refreshing.

Each of their number, as well as their Leader, thus invites the Gentile nations; and they do it by example, and not by word only -
"I will go to your house with offerings;
I will perform my vows to you.
I will offer fat victims as burnt-offerings.
With rams that have incense savour. Selah." v13,14

Another pause - like Wisdom's in Proverbs 1:23. And then once more, voice and instrument together sound forth a cheerful summons to draw near and listen to Messiah and the Church of Israel -
"Come, hear, and I will tell,
All you who fear God,
What he has done for me." (v16)

He was (v17), "Hearer of prayer" to me (Isaiah 65:2); for no sooner did I call upon Him than he answered - turning my prayer into praise. Had I sought to "lying vanities" or had tried crooked paths, I should have failed in finding this blessed result.

But the God of Israel, the Holy One, was honoured.
"Truly God has heard,
He has hearkened to the voice of my prayer." (v19)

But the way to this blessedness is by a holy path, v18. Messiah magnified the law; and in Him, we who come to God through his blood and righteousness do the same, and so shall sing the same song, and bless the same God.

"He has not turned away my prayer.
He has not turned away his mercy from me."

A close equivalent to Revelation 5:8, where golden vials, full of saints' prayers, are held up by the saints, and owned by the Hearer of Prayer on that day.

Far from turning away my prayer. He has done exceeding abundantly beyond all I asked. Instead of turning away his mercy from me, He has brought me to the Wealthy Place! Such is the Song of Messiah and his ransomed Israel praising the prayer-hearing God.

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