“Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!” (Psalm 66:5)
The Bible is full of commands to praise God. It seems like practically every Bible book reminds us that part of being human is praising the Lord. Sometimes that is easy: we find plenty of reasons to praise God and lots of evidence of God’s goodness to us. But at other times it can be hard to praise; we don’t find it natural and we struggle to find praise welling up within us.
If you ever feel like that, Psalm 66 is a great psalm to turn to. Because Psalm 66 not only tells us to praise God, it tells us how to praise and grow in joyful praise of God.
The key is found in verse 5: “Come and see what God has done…” If we are feeling less motivated to praise then the answer is to look at what God has done. As we mark and meditate on God’s wonderful works, then we will grow in awe and wonder, and in praise and thankfulness.
We can come and see what God has done for all people. The psalmist directs our eyes to God’s grand plan of salvation in the first instance. If our current situation gives us few reasons to praise, God’s grace in the gospel of Jesus can be the best motivator to change that. Verse 5 of the psalm talks about God’s “awesome deeds for mankind” and the subsequent verses retell God’s salvation of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, bringing them out from oppression into a place of abundance. As Christians, we have an even more glorious rescue to speak about and more awesome deeds to tell. God’s salvation plan finds it fulfilment in Jesus Christ bringing us release from slavery to sin through his death on the cross, and into new life in the Holy Spirit. The psalmist encourages us to retell the mighty works of God when our praise is faltering and find it renewed and reinvigorated.
We can also come and see what God has done for us personally. From the grand sweep of salvation the psalm then turns to become very personal. Verse 16 says “Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.” I wonder if we do that often enough? Telling one another what God has done for us. I had the opportunity to do that recently and it was encouraging for me to remember and retell God’s particular mercies to me personally. Telling God’s goodness not only encourages us, it helps us to remember God’s work in our lives that we can so easily forget.
One of the specific things the psalm calls us to remember is answered prayer. “God has surely listened and has heard my prayer” says verse 19. When we struggle to feel that God is listening to our prayers it can be so helpful to remember the times when we have clearly seen God hear and answer prayer. Many people keep a prayer journal where they write down what they prayed for and when they prayed it. It doesn’t have to be very much but just enough so that we can go back later and see how God has answered our prayers. Some prayers get answered much slower of course, and other in more complex ways. But the ways God has answered our prayers spur us on in those slow and complicated prayer requests.
What is the end result of reflecting on answered prayer? Verse 20 tells us that it is praise! We praise God when we come and see what he has done: for everyone, and for us personally. Why not take some time today to stop and reflect on what God has done for you personally, to ‘come and see what God has done’?