Many of the psalms found before this psalm have been petitions presented to God asking for help in time of need. Such requests were, and are, valid and important. God wants His people to depend upon Him for all things. However, Psalm 65 also shows another side of prayer – the prayer and attitude of thanksgiving.
Psalm 65 is clearly a song of praise to God, and the theme of the psalm is a lesson in itself. Too often, people, including Christians, treat prayer as a fire department or police department – no one thinks about them unless they are needed right now!
Prayer is often viewed the same way. However, prayer includes all kinds of communication with God. Praise and thanksgiving are important parts of that. This country has set aside a day a year as a day of “Thanksgiving”. But how many people even consider the blessings that they have received? How many go through life with a perpetual cloud over their head?
One of the reasons for the psalm’s theme of praise to God can be found in verse 3 “Iniquities prevail against me; as for our transgressions, You will provide atonement for them.” The people were thankful because God had initiated the action necessary to bring the people to Himself.
The world sees religion as mankind striving for God; but the Bible, and specifically this psalm, teaches that God has always been the initiator of the steps in His great plan of Redemption. In the beginning, GOD created. When the world was full of evil and GOD decided to destroy the world, HE CHOSE Noah and his family. When a bloodline was needed to build a nation from which the Son of God would eventually come, GOD CHOSE Abraham. When the Israelites cried out for a leader when they were in bondage in Egypt, GOD SELECTED Moses to lead the people. When the fullness of time had arrived, GOD SENT his son to die for the sins of mankind.
In every case, God initiated the action needed to bring sinful man into a right relationship with Himself. In verses 5-7, David also pointed to the fact that God rules in the world of nature. Many things occur that men and women cannot explain, but a lack of understanding does not cancel out the fact that God rules in His creation. The war with the devil is not a war of equals – it is not even a civil war. Instead, it was a rebellion of pride against the sovereign power of God. Satan lost, and his power was limited. In this life, the power of the Lord, and His influence may, at times, seem to be small. But God rules and His Plan WILL succeed.
In verse 8 is a beautiful example of some of the wonders and blessings that God has given all people who will take time to listen, “They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.” Two of the most beautiful times of the day are sunset and sunrise.
Before dawn, the sounds of nature are often still and quiet. Those things that live and function at night are usually settling in for the day, and the daytime life has not yet stirred. At that moment, it is almost like a hush before the coming of the dawn. As the faint blush of the new day becomes apparent on the horizon, the sounds of the morning slowly begin to be heard. Soon those sounds become a beautiful symphony that is a song of joy praising God and His creation. Every morning that sound can be heard, but too many people become too caught up in the affairs of the world to even hear such blessings.
At the end of the day, the sun begins to go down. The brilliant blue of the sky begins to turn into a spectrum of subtle colors of deepening blues, purples, gold, red, pink, and violet. And then, the stars and moon come out. On a day with clouds, sunsets are often even more beautiful. All of these declare the glory of God. Yet, how many stop, admire the beautiful tapestry of life, and give praise to the Creator?
Christians need to follow the example of David and listen to the sounds – the songs – of God in nature. See the beauty of His Creation and the blessing He gave all people to appreciate that beauty. Such sounds, such sights, can be a comfort that God is here, and it can be something to stir Christians on. If the things of nature can be that beautiful here, then how much more will that be true of the eternal home promised to those who are joined to God through Jesus Christ?