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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Psalms 66

Verses 1-4

Introduction

This psalm is a continuation of the song of praise of Psalm 65. Whereas the previous psalm ends with the rejoicing of creation (Psalms 65:13), in Psalm 66 we find the exhortation to all mankind to worship God and to sing praises to His Name (Psalms 66:4). The Jewish remnant will teach the law and the Word of the LORD to all people (Isaiah 2:3). The language used in this psalm is that of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt (Psalms 66:6). The occasion for exalting God here is the future redemption of the remnant from the great tribulation.

This psalm is about God as the Deliverer of His people. He has done everything, He is seen in everything. It begins with the deliverance of His people from Egypt (Psalms 66:6-Judges :). In it, He shows His power. It is the power of deliverance from enemies, but also the power that gives life from death (Psalms 66:9).

The restoration of Israel, that is, God’s acceptance and acknowledgment of them as His people again, is in fact live out of death (Romans 11:15). We see this in the redemption of the remnant in the end times, which is also entirely His work (Psalms 66:10-2 Kings :). The result is blessing for the people in the realm of peace given to them by Him (Psalms 66:20).

It is noteworthy that the first part of the psalm, Psalms 66:1-2 Kings :, is in the plural, while the second part, Psalms 66:13-Proverbs :, is in the singular. This is a continuation of what the remnant began in Psalm 65. The singular makes it clear that the song of praise is not only collective, but that each is personally involved (cf. Zechariah 12:12-2 Chronicles :).

All the Earth Will Sing Praises to God

For “for the choir director” (Psalms 66:1) see at Psalm 4:1.

For “a song” see at Psalm 65:1.

The psalm is anonymous. There is no event in the life of David that could be a point of reference for this psalm. However, the psalm expresses prophetically the utterances of the faithful remnant in the end times. That makes it possible that David as a prophet wrote this psalm. Indeed, we see that this psalm can be used by the remnant to praise God at the end of the great tribulation because of the redemption He gives. In doing so, they are passing on the lesson they have learned to all people, so that they too can magnify the Lord.

What has never happened will happen when the Lord Jesus reigns: all the earth shouts joyfully to God (Psalms 66:1). They “sing the glory of His name” (Psalms 66:2). His Name is still despised on earth today, but then the glory of His Name will be clear to all.

His Name represents His Person and His features. His glorious Name is the sum of all His qualities. God is light and He is love (1 John 1:5; 1 John 4:81 John 4:16). All His features result from this. All that is visible of Him gives rise to “make His praise glorious” which is done by singing of His qualities.

The poet indicates in what way, with what words, praise and glory can be given to God (Psalms 66:3). He gives the words for it (cf. Hosea 14:2-Leviticus :). It must be about the glorious and therefore fear-inducing actions of God. Everyone is called upon to say to God: “How awesome are Your works.”

God’s power is manifested in His works in such a way that even God’s enemies will no longer dare to resist Him. They will pretend to submit wholeheartedly to the God of Israel (cf. Psalms 18:44). Their submission is only feigned, hypocritical. They do not show their enmity because they know they will be judged immediately if they openly oppose Him (Psalms 101:8). Eventually, every knee will bow and confess “that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11).

The psalmist knows that evil will not prevail. All the earth will bow down before God once He reveals Himself in His power over evil by judging it (Psalms 66:4). As they bow down, they are to sing praises to God and God’s Name. God reveals Himself in His Name. The appropriate response of the people to this is to sing a song to His glory praising His attributes and features.

Verses 5-7

Come and See

When the day of the Lord has come, God takes the government into His own hands. With the call “come and see the works of God”, people are called to come nearer and see His works of redemption and government (Psalms 66:5). God has entrusted the reign of creation to man, but he failed hopelessly. We see that with Adam and Nebuchadnezzar. Through redemption, He restored that.

When God begins to reign openly, which He does through His Son, the Messiah, He performs deeds that are awe-inspiring to the sons of men. People have thought that they could decide everything on earth. They have lived and exercised authority without regard to God. This resulted in great injustice. When God reigns, He will judge all injustice.

The psalmist cites two examples of God’s awe-inspiring deeds that He performed in the early history of His people (Psalms 66:6; Psalms 114:3; Psalms 114:5). At the passage through the Red Sea, God “turned the sea into dry land” (Exodus 14:21). At the passage through the Jordan, He drained the Jordan and the people passed through the river on foot (Joshua 3:14-Esther :).

God judged Egypt and delivered His people from bondage. At the Red Sea, He completely delivered His people from the power of the enemy, for the Egyptians perished in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:28-Obadiah :). There, on the other side of the Red Sea, they rejoiced in God (Exodus 15:1-Leviticus :). Such deliverance followed by such rejoicing will also be experienced by the remnant, the Israel of God, in the end times. That is what this psalm is about.

His deeds in the past provide unconditional guarantee for the future. God has not merely shown His power once in the past, but “He rules by might forever” (Psalms 66:7; Exodus 15:18). He is mighty and remains so for all eternity. He thrones high in heaven, from where “His eyes keep watch on the nations”. Never does He lose sight of anything or anyone. “Let not the rebellious” forget this, lest they “exalt themselves” to rise up against Him. A similar warning is also found in Psalm 2 (Psalms 2:9).

Verses 8-12

Purified and Led Out Into Abundance

The goodness of God in the history of the redemption of His people causes a new call to bless or praise God (Psalms 66:8). This is a call from the remnant of Israel to the peoples to bless or praise God for what He has done to Israel. The occasion is what is stated in Psalms 66:10, which we see by the word “for” with which that verse begins. All peoples who have come into contact with God are called upon to bless or praise “our God”, which is the God of the remnant or the God of Israel. The point is that the glory of God, His great Name and fame, is to be proclaimed loudly. His glory is what He has done in the deliverance of His people.

God’s glory here is directly connected to giving life again to His people and keeping them standing firm in the way of faith (Psalms 66:9). God is to be praised because of His unique ability to give life. He is the Only One Who can do that, because He is the living God. He is also the Only One Who brings this life to maturity and leads and sustains it, and through the trials stands firm in the way of faith, so that it does not waver.

The remnant has gone through all kinds of trials and tribulations (Psalms 66:10). In these they, that is, their faith, have been “refined … as silver is refined” (cf. Malachi 3:3; Zechariah 13:9; 1 Peter 1:7). The trial has been hard, but they see the suffering as the way and the hand of God with them. This is also how they express it in the following verses.

They see that they have been brought by God “into the net” of captivity (Psalms 66:11; cf. Lamentations 1:13). They are like a bird caught in a net. He can no longer spread his wings, is powerless and at the mercy of the will of the bird-catcher. God has also laid “an oppressive burden” upon their loins, rendering them powerless and unable to walk.

It is also God Who has caused “men”, in whom we recognize the antichrist, to ride over their heads (Psalms 66:12; cf. Isaiah 51:23). It refers to the surrender into the hand of the enemy and the deep humiliation He brings upon them. They went “through fire and through water”, describing the severe tribulation into which they fell with the danger of burning and drowning, of destruction and death (cf. Isaiah 43:2).

In our lives it can also be the case that people ‘walk all over us’. They make our lives particularly difficult. How important it is then to look to God above these people, Who has seen fit to do this for our good. All the trials that are inflicted on us by people, regardless of whether they are believers or unbelievers, we may accept from the hand of God. This gives us peace in the midst of affliction. Then we no longer see the hand of men, but the hand of a loving Father.

When the trial comes to an end, it is also brought about by God Himself. God does not test beyond what someone can bear, but also gives the outcome at the right time (1 Corinthians 10:13). He restored life to the people who seemed doomed (Psalms 66:9). It appeared to be close to the fall, but He sustained it (Psalms 66:9). It was caught in a net, but He gave it room (Psalms 66:11). It had a squeezing band around its waist, but He broke it (Psalms 66:11). After all His acts of deliverance, He brought them “out into [a place of] abundance” (cf. Deuteronomy 8:7). His purpose with the tribulation is to “to do good for you in the end” (Deuteronomy 8:15-Nehemiah :).

We will also say this once when we are with the Lord and look back on our entire life journey together with Him. So can we also say this now when we look back on difficult times in our lives. Then we see that He has always been with us, even though we have sometimes felt alone, and has led us out of the difficulties into the enjoyment of an abundance of spiritual blessing. On earth, God’s intention with the trials is that “we should partake of His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). For eternity, it means that He will eventually lead us into the abundance of the Father’s house.

Verses 13-15

Vow Offerings

From now on, the psalm continues in the first person singular. Here the psalmist, the king himself, is speaking. We can also say that here prophetically the Spirit of Christ is speaking. Not only the world will sing God psalms. The redeemed will enter God’s house to fulfill his vows made to God in his distress (Psalms 66:13). This sacrificial service will be performed by God’s people in the realm of peace.

The burnt offering is in its entirety for God (Leviticus 1:9; Leviticus 1:13). Burnt offerings speak of the work of the Lord Jesus that He accomplished entirely to the glory of God. A vow offering is attached to the fulfillment of vows (Leviticus 7:16; cf. Acts 21:23-Ezekiel :). A vow offering is one of the forms of a peace offering. As a peace offering, a vow offering speaks of fellowship. We see this expressed in Psalms 66:16, where the psalmist involves “all who fear God”.

The psalmist’s lips uttered those vows, and his mouth uttered them when he was in need (Psalms 66:14; cf. Judges 11:30-Matthew :; Jonah 2:9). These are not carefully spoken words, but words that are the result of distress. What he has said may be full of emotion, but it is no less sincere. The psalmist remembers very well what he said out of his deep distress, and he also sticks to it when the deliverance by God is a fact.

He will express his praise and thanks by entering God’s house with “burnt offerings of fat beasts” (Psalms 66:15). He wants to give the best as thanks for what God has done. The “smoke of rams” surrounds him as he comes to God. The ram is the special animal used in the consecration of the priests (Leviticus 8:22; Leviticus 8:29). The ram speaks of the dedication of the Lord Jesus to God to the point of death. From His life, and particularly from His death, a soothing aroma ascended to God.

His sacrifice also includes “bulls with male goats” or burnt offerings with the accompanying sin offerings. Goats are used primarily as sin offerings (Leviticus 4:24; Leviticus 9:3Leviticus 9:15; Leviticus 10:16Leviticus 16:15). The goat as a sin offering represents the Lord Jesus in the work He did on the cross for the purpose of removing the sins of those who believe in Him. The believer will never forget that His work was imperative for the forgiveness of his sins. It is an aspect of Christ’s work that he will always remember with profound gratitude.

Verses 16-20

Come and Hear

The answer to his prayer, the deliverance by God from his distress, brings the God-fearing to bear witness to it (Psalms 66:16). He calls on “all who fear God” to come and hear “what He has done for my soul”. Of this he wants to tell, of this his heart is full.

After the invitation “come and see” (Psalms 66:5) the invitation is now “come [and] hear”. ’Come and see’ is about what is perceptible to the eye: the public acts of God that someone can see. ‘Come and hear’ is about the hidden work that God has done in someone. This is a work that no one can see, but that can be apprehended by the ear.

The psalmist wants to give a personal testimony about what God has done in his soul, that is his whole life. This applies to all the circumstances in which he has been and in which God has supported him. He wants to pass on to others and thereby encourage them, Who God has been for him in this and what He has done for him, in order that they too may go to Him with their need.

The God-fearing who is speaking here has cried to Him with his mouth (Psalms 66:17). At the same time he has extolled God with his tongue. To extol God means to honor and praise Him for His work. He has prayed and at the same time he has had the assurance that God hears him, for which he has thanked Him as he prayed. This is praying with confidence, a praying that God loves to hear and answer.

The basis for this confidence is that there are no hidden intentions in the heart while praying (Psalms 66:18). God does not hear prayers that are made from wrong motives. If He and His interests are not the focus, but the one who prays has only himself and his own interests in mind, God will not answer (James 4:3; Proverbs 28:9; Isaiah 59:2; John 9:31).

It is clear: the people of God must first cleanse their hearts from sin through confession. After that, the believer can cry out to God when he is in need. The psalmist experienced this. When he says: “But certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer” (Psalms 66:19), it is proof that his heart has been free from iniquity during his prayer.

The God-fearing is impressed that God has “not turned away” his prayer “nor His lovingkindness” from him” (Psalms 66:20). He says it in negative terms: not turned away. This emphasizes that he does not assert a right to be heard, but sees it as great favor. This makes his gratitude all the more intense and he blesses or praises God from the depths of his heart.

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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 66". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/psalms-66.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.