Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion

Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion – to you our vows will be fulfilled!

Psalm 65

Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion;
    to you our vows will be fulfilled.
You who answer prayer,
    to you all people will come.
When we were overwhelmed by sins,

    you forgave our transgressions.
Blessed are those you choose

    and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,

    of your holy temple.

You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
    God our Savior,
 the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power,

    having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas,

    the roaring of their waves,
    and the turmoil of the nations.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;

    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy.

You care for the land and water it;
    you enrich it abundantly.
 The streams of God are filled with water
    to provide the people with grain,
    for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges;

    you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty,

    and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;

    the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks

    and the valleys are mantled with grain;
    they shout for joy and sing.


Devotional thoughts:

Verse 3: When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.


The language here expresses the feeling which all may have, and should have, and which very many do have, when they approach God, that, although they are deeply conscious of sin, God will so graciously remove the guilt of sin, and lift off the burden, cleansing the soul by his grace, as to make it not improper that we should approach him, and that he will enable us to do it with peace, and joy, and hope.


How can one who is overwhelmed by sins approach the holy God with praise? The clue is in the last part of the verse: You forgave our transgressions. And, the next verse goes even further: Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts!

The child of God can come to the throne of the Most High with praise, in the joy of full belonging, because the Holy God is the One who has acted to forgive her sins, and has already declared favor for the child approaching Him: we are chosen to draw near to Him.

This divine choice is God for us. As Jesus taught us: "You did not choose me, but I chose you, and ordained that you should bear much fruit." God for us, granting us salvation in Christ – such great salvation! And it is “not by works, so that no one can boast. It is by grace we have been saved, through faith – and this not from ourselves, it is fully the gift of God!” Eph. 2:8-9

It is in this divine choice and declaration of pardon that the chosen child comes to God. It is thus that we come to Him in praise: Fully known for who we are, and fully chosen in spite of that reality. And so we praise!

And thus, our lives become thanksgiving. Truly it is said,

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16


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