Reading the Word
Psalm 66:6–12 (ESV)
6 He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in him, 7 who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations— let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah8 Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, 9 who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. 10 For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. 11 You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; 12 you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
Understanding and Applying the Word
This psalm begins with a call to praise God for who He is and all he He has done. In verse 6 we get an specific example of what God has done: He has delivered His people from Egypt by bringing them through the sea on dry land. Let the people praise Him!
That is wonderful, but verses 10-12 give other reasons to praise God. We should praise Him because he has “tested us” and “tried us as silver”. As we continue to read we find that God has “brought us into the net” and “laid a crushing burden on our backs”. He has “let men ride over our heads” and taken us through fire and water. How is this worthy of praise?
The words of Psalm 66:10-12 reflect the same thought as James 1:2-4:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
God, in His sovereignty, brings things into our lives, even difficult things, for our good. He uses these experiences to help us grow to Christian maturity and learn to trust and depend on Him more and more. If we look back on our lives, it is most likely true that our greatest times of spiritual growth have come not in the times of ease, but in the times of hardship and difficulty. So, in the words of James and Psalm 66, we can count these times as joy and give praise to God for them!
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