Roger Plough | The Voice of Zion May 2022 --
Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! Through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah. Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men. He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him. He ruleth by his power for ever; his eye behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah. O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard: Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved. – Psalm 66:3–9
God directs the footsteps of our lives and the paths of nations. Such mighty works compel us to sing and praise God, as our text exhorts us. God is deserving of our thanks and praise always, yet we are often slow to praise God.
Our text begins, “Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works!” Referring to God’s works as terrible is surprising, so we can check other Bible translations to see how the original word was viewed by others. The English NIV translation uses the word awesome and the older Finnish Biblia uses ihmeellinen, that is wonderful. Since God is the creator of heaven and earth we can surmise the wonder – and even fear – behind these adjectives.
All around us in nature we can see the wonderful hand of God, the warmth of day, the coolness of night, the sunrise, the sunset, the seasons of growth and the seasons of dormancy. We view God’s creation as a normal part of life, often overlooking the wonder of it all.
We desire to remember to thank and praise Him. In Psalm 8:4 we read, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visited him?” God is great and we are small, yet God created humans for eternity and sent His Son to suffer and die for the sins of all. Through faith in Him, sinful humans have the possibility of eternal life in heaven. For this we ought to continually thank and praise our heavenly Father.
God Helps in Time of Need
In our text, the psalmist continues, “Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men” (v. 5). Then the psalmist recalls a miracle of God for the children of Israel. The Egyptian army had the children of Israel trapped at the Red Sea with nowhere to go. God “turned the sea into dry land” (v. 5) and the children of Israel passed over. When the Egyptians pursued them, God caused the waters to return and the army drowned. The Israelites rejoiced and sang praises to God for His marvelous works.
Throughout time and yet today, God provides strength in time of need for His children. Have you experienced God’s help in your battle against the three-fold enemy? When we fall, God gives strength to beg for the gospel and we are able to hear and believe that all our sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name and blood.
Further in our text the psalmist implores, “Let not the rebellious exalt themselves” (v. 7). Jesus teaches, “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11). By nature, humans want to take credit for good things or deeds and lay blame on others for the bad. We are proud and want to show we are better than another. All are corrupt and prone to falling into sin. Therefore when we fall, we desire to humble ourselves unto repentance. By believing our sins forgiven, through faith, we are exalted, i.e. made acceptable unto God through the merits of His dear Son, our Lord Jesus. When our sins are forgiven and we have peace with God, our hearts rejoice and are full of thanks to Him.
God’s Salvation Plan
The last verse of our text teaches of Him “which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved” (v. 9). God has given man an undying soul and desires that all would seek Him, come onto repentance, and be saved. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). In Hebrews 13:8 the writer reminds, “Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” As children of God, we want to remain on the narrow pathway that leads to heaven.
Satan would like us to think there is another way. He does not care whether we fall to the wayside on the left or the right. He preaches his sermon of lies which can often be enticing. How can such a small group of people be on the correct pathway to heaven? Yet, Jesus says in His Sermon on the Mount, “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14). May our feet always remain steadfast on the path that leads to eternal life.
Like the psalmist, we long to thank and praise God eternally for His great and mighty works. Jesus encourages, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).