# 214 A journey through the Psalms. Psalm 66 Unprecedented!

If you have been keeping up with the news, then a word you may have heard many times over the past weeks is “unprecedented” meaning “never done or known before”. Of course, they are referring to the impact of Covid-19 on the world around us. It is changing our lifestyles and attitudes dramatically.

For example, on Sunday morning (22/08/20), my wife and I sat in front of our TV and joined in the worship of our church on-line. The worship team lead the worship and the pastor preached on Exodus inside a church building with empty seats as we all watched from home. Our fellowship was via the chat line!

As the pastor preached on the book of Exodus, I remembered Psalm 66. Blaiklock suggests that it “speaks of a great deliverance from some fearsome menace and national testing…[the nation was] tingling with confidence, not in itself, but in the One who has preserved them…They live when they had feared to die, they stand when their foothold appeared to crumble underneath (9), they have passed the testing of the fire with purging of the dross (10)…They had felt trapped, and were free, bowed under the burden of anxiety and stress, but were free, delivered (12).”    (# 37)

Listen to the psalmist’s words:

Come and see what God has done,
    his awesome deeds for mankind!
He turned the sea into dry land,
    they passed through the waters on foot—
    come, let us rejoice in him.
He rules forever by his power,
    his eyes watch the nations—
    let not the rebellious rise up against him.

Praise our God, all peoples,
    let the sound of his praise be heard;
he has preserved our lives
    and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, God, tested us;
    you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
    and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let people ride over our heads;
    we went through fire and water,
    but you brought us to a place of abundance.

Now, in these “unprecedented” times we too are facing a “fearsome menace and [inter] national testing” when there is a fear of many things – disease, death, loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, financial ruin, world recession, etc. The difference though between us and those in the days of the psalmist is that we are still in it. We are yet to see the deliverance that saw the nation of Israel “tingling with confidence” in God.

So often in life God calls us to “see” this deliverance by faith. Paul puts it simply when he said: We live by faith and not by sight! (2 Corinthians 5:7)

So, by faith in the God of the Exodus we are able to exclaim with the psalmist:

Come and see what God has done,
    his awesome deeds for mankind!
And of course, our God has done even greater things that the exodus, and we read of these in the Gospels concerning Jesus. How awesome is the incarnation, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the ascension. How awesome the truth that this was all for our deliverance from sin and death. The author of Hebrews writes:

 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, [Jesus] too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

 “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

I have no doubt that in time (although it may take a while), by the grace and power of God we will be able to say:

    we went through fire and water [and virus pandemic],
    but you brought us to a place of abundance.

But, the big question is, what will we learn from these difficult times? Will our dependence upon God grow greater and our dependence on ourselves and our own resources reduce.

May we and the people of the world around us acknowledge our lack of control and seek God for his deliverance? Amen.  

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