Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, June 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 66

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-4

The psalmist, speaking for his nation, called the other nations to join in praise of God by shouting, singing, and speaking. In Psalms 66:1-12 he wrote in the first person plural, but in Psalms 66:13-20 he used the first person singular. God’s great acts made His enemies cringe before Him. "Feigned obedience" (Psalms 66:3, NASB) is hypocritical obedience. The psalmist meant that God’s enemies would pretend to obey Him because they feared His wrath, even if they did not really obey Him.

Verses 1-12

1. The nations’ praise 66:1-12

Verses 1-20

Psalms 66

This is a psalm of thanksgiving, as was the previous one. We do not know the writer or the occasion for sure. In this psalm, God’s people acknowledged His deliverance and invited other people to join them in praising Him.

"This psalm shows the move from communal affirmation to individual appreciation, which is what we always do in biblical faith." [Note: Brueggemann, p. 139.]

"The exhortation to praise the Lord begins with the Gentile nations (Psalms 66:1-7), moves to Israel (Psalms 66:8-12), and concludes with the individual believer (Psalms 66:13-20)." [Note: Wiersbe, The . . . Wisdom . . ., pp. 210-11.]

Verses 5-7

God’s great acts in nature and history demonstrate His sovereign authority over all the earth. The Red Sea and Jordan River crossings demonstrated this authority to all the nations (cf. Joshua 2:9-11). Nations should therefore pause before rebelling against the Lord.

Verses 8-9

Again the psalmist called the nations to bless God because of what He had done in preserving Israel.

Verses 10-12

God had also disciplined Israel to bring out the best in her. He had put her through trials of fire and trials of water, two prominent testing media. Through all her tests God had not abandoned His people but had brought them through to greater blessing.

Verses 13-15

The psalmist now spoke to God for himself. He provided an example for the people. He personally would praise God by offering burnt and peace sacrifices in fulfillment of his promises to God. These sacrifices were primarily for worship rather than for the removal of sin.

Verses 13-20

2. The psalmist’s praise 66:13-20

Verses 16-20

In these verses the writer addressed the congregated nation, not God. This is declarative praise. God had answered the psalmist’s petition that arose out of a pure heart. God will not listen to the prayer of a person who nurses sin in his or her heart. He hears it, of course, because He knows all, but He will not hear it in the sense of answering it, under normal circumstances. The psalm closes with the psalmist’s personal benediction to God for granting his petition and bestowing His loyal love.

When God’s people are in need they should purify their hearts and pray. When they do, He will answer and bless them. This should cause other people to honor and praise God.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 66". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/psalms-66.html. 2012.
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