Psalm 66 and 67
Ps. 66 is a summons to the nations to join in praise to God for a great deliverance which he has brought about for his people, such as the deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib. If this was the occasion, the speaker in verses 13-20 may well be King Hezekiah himself, speaking as the representative of the nation. Ps.67 may belong to the same time. See Is.37.
- 66. Note in detail what God is here said to do with and for his people. What response ought this to move me to make? What is the condition of sharing in such an experience?
- 67. Do we share the longing of the psalmist that all nations might know God and his salvation? By what means did he think it would be achieved? Cf. Matt. 5:14-16; 1 Pet. 2:9,10.
This psalm describes the onward march of God through history to his final triumph. The threefold reference to the sanctuary in verse 17, 24, 35 suggests that, like Ps. 24, it was written to celebrate the bringing of the ark to Jerusalem. See 2 Sam. 6:15, 17, 18.
- What effect does the appearing of God have on: (a) his enemies (verses 1, 2), (b) the righteous (verses 3, 4), and (c) those in need (verses 5, 6)?
- In the historical retrospect of verses 7-18, what aspects of God’s character are revealed?
- Verse 7. Cf. Judg. 5:4, 5.
- Verses 13b, 14. The meaning is uncertain. Verse 13b may mention an item of spoil: see verse 12 and cf. Jude. 5:30. Or it may describe a symbol- like the golden wings of the cherubim (see Exod. 25:20-22) – of a theophany. Verse 14 may be a picture of the kings and their armies fleeing as snow-flakes driven before a storm.
- Verses 17, 18. God enters Zion with his heavenly hosts. Cf. Eph. 4:8; Ps. 24:7-10.
- Verses 19-27. How is the blessedness of God’s people described? In your own experience do you know as he is set from here? What can we also learn from these concerning the character and place of public worship?
- Verses 28-35. What God has done (verses 7-18) and is doing (verses 19-27) is but the prelude to greater triumphs. What vision does the psalmist see of a worldwide homage paid to God, and how is this confirmed by other scriptures?
Note. Verse 30. ‘The beasts among the reeds’ represent Egypt; and the ‘bulls’ followed by their ‘calves’, other kings and their peoples.
This psalm is notable, first because the New Testament quotes from it several times, and second, because amidst prayer of humble supplication, the psalmist suddenly breaks into cries of passionate imprecation (verses 22-28).
- What is the cause of the psalmist’s troubles? What is the chief concern of his prayer, and what does he expect will happen in the end?
- What features in the psalmist’s sufferings most closely prefigure those of our Lord, helping us to understand how deeply he tasted of human woe? Cf. Heb. 4:15. Vreses 20, 21 take us specially to Gethsemane and the cross; but at the point of deepest suffering, where the psalmist breaks out in imprecatory prayer, what did our Lord pray? See Luke 23:34.
- In what respects do verses 22-28 foreshadow the judgment that has fallen upon the Jewish people? Cf. verses 22, 23 with Matt. 13:14; Rom. 11:9, 10; and verse 25 with Matt. 23:38.