For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of Asaph.
1 I cry out to God; yes, I shout.
Oh, that God would listen to me!
2 When I was in deep trouble,
I searched for the Lord.
All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven,
but my soul was not comforted.
3 I think of God, and I moan,
overwhelmed with longing for his help. Interlude
4 You don’t let me sleep.
I am too distressed even to pray!
5 I think of the good old days,
long since ended,
6 when my nights were filled with joyful songs.
I search my soul and ponder the difference now.
7 Has the Lord rejected me forever?
Will he never again be kind to me?
8 Is his unfailing love gone forever?
Have his promises permanently failed?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he slammed the door on his compassion? Interlude
10 And I said, “This is my fate;
the Most High has turned his hand against me.”
11 But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
12 They are constantly in my thoughts.
I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.
13 O God, your ways are holy.
Is there any god as mighty as you?
14 You are the God of great wonders!
You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
15 By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Interlude
16 When the Red Sea saw you, O God,
its waters looked and trembled!
The sea quaked to its very depths.
17 The clouds poured down rain;
the thunder rumbled in the sky.
Your arrows of lightning flashed.
18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;
the lightning lit up the world!
The earth trembled and shook.
19 Your road led through the sea,
your pathway through the mighty waters—
a pathway no one knew was there!
20 You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,
with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.
Upper Room: Serving with Love
The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” - Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
For several years, I’ve led a prayer group for mothers in my home. We meet in the morning, Monday through Friday. One day, a friend asked me to accompany her to an early-morning medical appointment. I truly wanted to go with her, but at the same time there were other considerations: the great distance to the hospital by public transportation and the relatively slow walking pace because of her need for a walker. Would there be enough time to get her to the appointment and still make it back in time for my prayer group meeting?
My desire to assist her proved far more important than any inconvenience. I asked the Lord to favor us with two gifts — wise planning and good transportation. We left quite early, our ride was on time, and she made it through her appointment successfully. Then I accompanied her home and arrived on time for the start of the prayer group.
That day, I was grateful that with God’s help I was able to perform two works of love that pleased the Lord.
Testimony time was the segment in our church service when people shared how God had been at work in their lives. Auntie—or Sister Langford as she was known by others in our church family—was known for packing lots of praise into her testimonies. On the occasions when she shared her personal conversion story, one could expect her to take up a good bit of the service. Her heart gushed with praise to God who’d graciously changed her life!
Similarly, the testimony of the writer of Psalm 66 is packed with praise as he testifies about what God had done for His people. “Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!” (v. 5). His deeds included miraculous rescue (v. 6), preservation (v. 9), and testing and discipline that resulted in His people being brought to a better place (vv. 10–12). While there are God-experiences that we have in common with other believers in Jesus, there are also things unique to our individual journeys. Have there been times in your life when God has particularly made Himself known to you? Those are worth sharing with others who need to hear how He’s worked in your life. “Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me” (v. 16).
By Arthur Jackson
REFLECT & PRAY
How can you more readily share your experiences of God’s goodness with others? How have you been inspired to trust Him more when you’ve heard others share His awesome deeds?
Heavenly Father, I rejoice in the varied expressions of Your kindness to me. Help me not to keep these things to myself.
Psalm 66 is a worship song praising God for rescuing His people from an enemy threat. Though the specific circumstances aren’t mentioned, nor the author named, some scholars suggest that King Hezekiah wrote this thanksgiving song after God miraculously defeated the Assyrians in response to his prayer for deliverance (2 Chronicles 32:1–22; Isaiah 36–37). The offering of rams, bulls, and goats (Psalm 66:15) are what a king would sacrifice to God (see 2 Chronicles 30:24). The psalmist recalls the miraculous deliverances in their history—how God led them out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, through the wilderness, and into the promised land (Psalm 66:1–12). The second part of the song is a personal thanksgiving for God answering his prayers (vv. 13–20). The psalmist speaks of an important condition for answered prayer: “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (v. 18 nlt).
K. T. Sim