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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Psalms 65

Verses 1-4

Introduction

Prophetically, the psalm speaks of the “period of restoration of all things, about which God spoke by the mouths of His holy prophets from ancient times” (Acts 3:21). This psalm has to do with the fulfillment of the Day of atonement (Psalms 65:2) and the Feast of Ingathering, or the Feast of Booths (Exodus 23:16). Once every fifty years is the year of jubilee (Leviticus 25:10-1 Chronicles :). This year of jubilee is announced on the Day of atonement, which is a preparation for the Feast of Booths. The year of jubilee is prophetically the time of the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21).

Psalm 65 and Psalm 66 are the songs of thanksgiving that the upright will sing. They spoke of this in the last verse of the previous psalm (Psalms 64:10).

Praise God’s Goodness

For “for the choir director” (Psalms 65:1) see at Psalm 4:1.

For “a Psalm of David” see at Psalm 3:1.

This psalm is called “a song”. The lamenting (Psalms 64:2) has ended and the singing has begun. It is similar to the people of Israel singing the song of salvation after their deliverance from Egypt, the first song we hear in the Bible (Exodus 15:1).

Psalm 65 is the first psalm in a row of four psalms so named (Psalms 65:1; Psalms 66:1Psalms 67:1; Psalms 68:1). Like a psalm, a song is an expression of gratitude for experienced goodness. We might call it a song of praise.

The psalm begins with “praise” (Psalms 65:1). However, it is a praise in “silence”. The reason is that injustice still reigns on earth. Also, the remnant itself does not yet know the forgiveness of their iniquities. Before the Day of atonement, there is – in the Jewish tradition – a period of ten days of humbling oneself. Those ten days begin on the Feast of the blowing of the Trumpets, which is the Jewish secular New Year’s Day, and last until the Day of atonement, which is particularly marked by humility. During that period of humiliation, the people must contemplate their own situation before they, represented by the high priest, will meet with God.

The “silence” is the rest and trust in God of the remnant that we have seen and discussed before (Psalms 62:1; Psalms 62:5). We can read it in such a way that the peace and trust in God sound like a song of praise to God! It can also be read as the ‘silence’ of worship. Not a silence of emptiness, but a silence filled with Him, making words inadequate.

It is, however, a song of praise “before You, … in Zion, O God”. Faith turns to God, Who dwells in Zion (Psalms 78:68; Psalms 132:13-2 Chronicles :). The remnant, though still suffering from oppression and persecution, looks forward to the time when they will be able to perform the vow they have made. Their vow is that they will praise God when He delivers them from their tribulation. They trust that He will rise up and judge their oppressors.

With them is the deep conviction that God hears the prayer they have prayed (Psalms 65:2). He is ‘the Hearer of prayer’. How often have we experienced it ourselves that God has answered prayer. The remnant knows that He will deliver them. Then not only will they go to Him, but “all men”, literally “all flesh”, that is all people (Isaiah 40:5; Joel 2:28; cf. Revelation 15:4), will come to Him. This will happen in the realm of peace (Isaiah 2:2-Leviticus :). Then every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-1 Kings :; Isaiah 45:23). It extends even beyond the realm of peace. It is about all creation, which includes the dead beneath the earth. They will bow their knee when they stand before the great white throne after the realm of peace and will be judged.

Before this can occur, something else must happen. The remnant must first be delivered from the burden of their iniquities that weighs upon them (Psalms 65:3). The God-fearing acknowledges that those iniquities have prevailed over him. We also hear the Lord Jesus speak here when He bears on the cross as the substitutionary sacrifice the sins for all those who believe in Him. On this basis the sinner can confess his sins and receive reconciliation.

The God-fearing speaks in the singular, “against me”. There is no question of him hiding behind a general confession, as we sometimes hear, ‘all men are sinners’. With a sincere confession someone speaks only about himself: ‘I have sinned.’ Then someone sees only his own sins. He sees himself in the light of God.

However, when he speaks of their atonement, he speaks in the plural, “our transgressions”. He knows himself to be associated with all who share in the atonement. That is the believing remnant here. He also knows that the atonement is not the result of his prayer, or of the sacrifices he has made, but that the atonement is the work of God alone. “You” therefore has the emphasis.

Prophetically, we see in the singular “against me” and “You” that it is about the Lord Jesus as the atoning sacrifice, as the guilt offering of Isaiah 53 (Isaiah 53:6). The plural “our transgressions” is about the remnant. Here is fulfilled what we read in Daniel 9, that transgression is ended, sins are sealed, and unrighteousness is reconciled (Daniel 9:24; cf. Zechariah 13:1).

The atonement is the part of each one whom God “chooses”. The election concerns the election of those who may come near to God. They may dwell in God’s courts; they are chosen to be priests. No one takes for himself the honor of being a priest, but one is called (chosen) by God, as is Aaron (Hebrews 5:4-Deuteronomy :; Exodus 28:1; Numbers 16:5). Aaron and his children sinned with the golden calf. By taking refuge in the blood of the Day of atonement, they were chosen by God to be priests, to be able to come near to God.

He who is reconciled is so because he has been chosen by God to do so (cf. John 15:16). Therefore, he will not be able to boast of that. What he will do is recognize that he is “blessed” (Psalms 65:4; cf. Psalms 1:1; Psalms 32:1-Exodus :Psalms 41:2). Those who partake of God’s atonement and election are thrilled and delighted. He cannot help but praise and give thanks to God for His great mercy that He has bestowed upon him. There was only a right to hell. Now he is reconciled to God by virtue of His election. Everything is grace.

It is a tremendous blessing to be freed from the burden and penalty of sin and reconciled to God, but it does not stop there. There are many other blessings attached to reconciliation and election. When God gives, He gives according to the riches of His grace. Whoever is elected by God, He “brings near [to Him]”. Such a person may come to Him, enter into His presence.

This coming near to God is also not limited to visiting Him now and then. Whoever is chosen by God and whom He causes to come near, “he may dwell in Your courts”. By “courts” we can think of the dwellings of the priests (cf. 1 Samuel 3:3; 2 Chronicles 4:9; Psalms 23:6; Psalms 84:10). A priest may dwell in God’s presence to praise and give thanks to Him day and night for His great grace. This is the privilege of all who know the God of Zion as their God.

All who are in this privileged position “will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house”. “The goodness” corresponds to dwelling in God’s courts, which means enjoying His nearness and fellowship. This is also expressed by the fact that “the goodness” is represented as “the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple”, which is reminiscent of the offerings that, as peace offerings, form the basis of fellowship with God at His altar. The peace offering is a fellowship offering, of which first God, second the priests, and finally the offerors, enjoy their portion at the meal at His altar.

In God’s house the blessings are piled high. Those who dwell there may eat of them to satisfaction. This involves enjoying all blessings in fellowship with God. God Himself is the goodness of “Your holy temple”. In His temple He enthrones and reveals His righteousness. Everything in His temple is holy; what is in it is there for Him and speaks of Him. That is what the God-fearing may feed on. He does this by looking to the Giver through the blessing. Then he sees Who God is in His love and His holiness. This is the true food of the believer.

Israel receives all these blessings on earth and temporarily, while for the church these blessings are heavenly and eternal. Israel receives the fullness of them in the realm of peace, while we already possess the fullness of them now. We do not approach in an earthly temple, but we form “the household of God, which is the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15) for all eternity. We have access to the Father and are of God’s household now and forever (Ephesians 2:18-Song of Solomon :).

The priests may dwell in the courts of an earthly temple. We will be in the Father’s house forever (John 14:1-Leviticus :). There we will have fellowship with the Father and the Son and with each other for all eternity through eternal life, which we are already experiencing (1 John 1:3-Numbers :). We are children of God now and forever by virtue of our personal election by God to sonship for Himself (Ephesians 1:3-Judges :).

Verses 5-8

God’s Awesome Deeds

In the temple of God, God’s chosen people see that God answers them “in righteousness” (Psalms 65:5). His righteousness is related to the covenant He has made with His people. His covenant is always the measure of His actions. Now that the transgressions have been atoned for, which has happened by virtue of the blood of the new covenant, God can redeem and provide salvation.

By virtue of His righteousness, He brings Israel the long-awaited deliverance and judges the enemies of His people. By His awesome deeds done in righteousness on behalf of His people, they acknowledge Him as the “God of our salvation”. Their salvation, which will find its full fulfillment in the realm of peace, is due only to Him.

His awesome deeds in righteousness not only show that He cares for His people, but that they also have a blessed effect on all peoples “of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea”. These nations have always relied on their idols. Through God’s awesome acts of righteousness, they will abandon their trust in their idols and He will become their trust.

By the strength that is His own, He “establishes the mountains” (Psalms 65:6). They move when He touches them and He establishes them (Psalms 104:7; Psalms 104:31). This is also true of earthly superpowers, which are sometimes represented as a mountain (Psalms 68:15-Nehemiah :; Jeremiah 51:25). He is girded with might, which means that He is omnipotent, unlimited in the use of His strength. There is no one who can oppose Him or force Him to change His plan. Everything is fixed in Him.

That He is almighty is seen when He “stills the roaring of the seas” as well as “the roaring of their waves” (Psalms 65:7). The fact that we see the Lord Jesus doing that (Mark 4:37-:) proves that He is this the almighty God. What is true of the roaring seas and waves is also true of “the tumult of the peoples” (cf. Isaiah 17:12-1 Chronicles :; Luke 21:25). All the tumultuous peoples are under His authority. He is in complete control of them. They can do nothing but what He permits and what fits into His plan with the world. It brings us peace when we think about it, while we see what is happening in the world.

When He intervenes in the affairs of the world by quieting the tumult of the nations, it causes fear in those “who dwell in the ends [of the earth]” (Psalms 65:8). His actions against the enemies of His people are signs to the inhabitants of the world. They do not come to repentance because of it, but must acknowledge His intervention. All who are connected to Him from where the morning dawns and the evening descends, that is, from east to west, He causes to shout for joy.

Verses 9-13

Abundance of Blessing

These verses describe the blessed consequence of God’s awesome deeds in righteousness (Psalms 65:5). It is a description of the abundant blessing in the millennial realm of peace (cf. Deuteronomy 11:10-Ezra :; Deuteronomy 11:21; Ezekiel 36:33-Zechariah :). Then creation is freed from the “futility” to which it was subjected by man’s sin (Romans 8:20-Ecclesiastes :) and brings forth an abundance of fruit.

The land owes this time of blessing to God’s visiting it (Psalms 65:9). In “visit” lies the thought of taking care of someone who is in need, thinking of him, looking at him and providing for his needs. This is what God is doing with the land He has chosen for His people to live in and enjoy what it produces.

The abundance that the land produces is His work. He “causes it to overflow”. He not only provides what is needed, but gives in abundance. God is a God of overflow (cf. Deuteronomy 28:11; Deuteronomy 30:9; John 10:10). He “enriches” the land. All lack is past time. There is a great wealth of food. It is a paradisiacal condition. The earthly blessings of God’s covenant with His people are enjoyed in full measure.

This is due to “the stream of God” which is “full of water”. By “the stream of God” are meant the great reservoirs of water in the clouds (cf. Job 26:8; Job 38:37-Zechariah :). At God’s command they pour out their water on the land, so that the wheat can grow in rich abundance. God “prepares their grain”. The restored Israel will acknowledge this wholeheartedly and with great gratitude: “For thus You prepare the earth.” In a spiritual sense, it refers to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on “all flesh” when God’s people are restored to their relationship with God (Joel 2:28; cf. Ezekiel 47:1-2 Kings :; Zechariah 14:8). For us, this is already reality (John 7:37-Malachi :).

God may wondrously make something grow (Jonah 4:6), but His usual way is that He gives growth in accordance with the laws He has placed in creation. The farmer does have to work the land. He plows the earth. But God waters that plowed earth (Psalms 65:10). He lowers water in His furrows and soaks it with raindrops. The crop that comes forth is blessed by God, it grows under His blessing. It is clear that God and no one else gives this growth, this abundance, this rich yield of the land.

This is also a description of the way God brings a sinner to repentance and causes him to grow spiritually (1 Corinthians 3:6). The Spirit, through the Word of God, convicts the heart of the sinner of his sins. He plows the ground, as it were, through which iniquity is seen and confessed. Then Word and Spirit drench the heart and work the new life in him (John 3:5). The teaching of God’s Word then soaks like a gentle rain and like raindrops that new life making it grow and bear fruit (Deuteronomy 32:2).

Throughout the year, God has given His care to the land, demonstrating His bounty (Psalms 65:11). The crowning glory is that rich harvest. In what comes forth from the earth’s soil, we see, as it were, His “paths” that “drip [with] fatness”. It gives the picture of God walking through the land in successive seasons, and everywhere He walks fertility, beauty and abundance appear. The magnificent vineyards, cornfields and olive trees adorn the land like a crown adorns the head. It is the crown that God puts on the land.

The dry wilderness is crowned with pastures (Psalms 65:12; Isaiah 35:1-Exodus :). His footsteps bedevil the pastures so that they continue to produce abundant fertile grass. The fertility and abundance cause joy. “The hills”, which are presented as persons, “gird themselves with rejoicing”. The green splendor around the hills seems to be a girdle that radiates joy.

The flocks in the meadows are so large that they seem like a covering for those meadows (Psalms 65:13). The valleys also have a covering: they are covered with grain. As a result, the meadows and the valleys are full of expressions of joy: “they shout for joy, yes, they sing”. All nature is full of the bounty of God and is a testimony to His happiness and His beauty (Zechariah 9:16-Esther :).

This description is an exhortation to the New Testament believer to testify full of joy to the spiritual blessings he has received in Christ.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Psalms 65". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/psalms-65.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.