Praying Through the Bible #59 | with Daniel Whyte III
TEXT: Psalm 66:16-20: “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.”
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible”. The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have done 58 messages in this series.
This is message #59, titled “The Testimony of an Anonymous Psalmist”
The author of Psalm 66 is unknown. His name is not given. This psalm was made for the purposes of praise and worship. It was given to the “chief musician”, so it was used in a corporate worship setting.
One thing we notice about this psalm as a whole, is that it is a psalm of remembrance. The writer begins by calling on the entire world to remember God’s blessings and give thanks to Him by “making a joyful noise.” Then, he brings his focus to the nation of Israel and says, “O bless our God, ye people…” He recounts the times of deliverance that God had given to them. And, finally, he moves the focus to himself. He says, “I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows…”
It is in the last five verses of this psalm, where this anonymous psalmist gives us his personal testimony, that we find three encouragements that are relevant to our lives today.
1. We are encouraged to come and hear. Verse 16 says, “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” F.B. Meyer said that this psalm was written for use at annual festivals. When the nation of Israel was settled in the Promised Land, they frequently gathered in Jerusalem to mark national “feast days.” These gatherings were a time for the whole nation to be together in order to hear the reading of the Law, but also to hear the retelling of God’s great deliverances of Israel in the past.
2. We are encouraged to cry out. This anonymous psalmist tells us, “I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue.” It seems as though he is answering the unasked question, “Why did the Lord work on my behalf? Why do I even have a reason to tell you how the Lord worked for me?”
3. We are encouraged to be cleansed. In the next verse, the psalmist writes, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Yes, indeed, there are things that can hinder your prayer life. The anonymous psalmist tells us this. “Iniquity” is sin or wrong-doing, and he says, he made sure he had none of it in his heart before he prayed to the Lord. Why? Because he knows that if he has his heart set on evil, the Lord will not hear his prayers.