“Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard, who keeps our soul among the living, and does not allow our feet to be moved. For You, O God, have tested us; you have refined us as silver is refined.” Psalm 66:8–10
There are a handful of themes that keep repeating throughout the book of Psalms and one of them, rightfully, is the need for people to return their praise to God. I say return their praise because that’s what we’re doing when we praise God. We’re returning it to him.
God started the cycle by doing all the wonderful things he’s done. When we lift up our voices in praise we’re not flattering God by inflating the value of his actions with grand exaggerations and flowery words. God, in his love for us, has done works in our lives that make him deserving of our worship. And we complete the circle when we give God the praise that’s rightfully his.
He’s even more deserving of our praise when you consider that he didn’t do what he’s done so that we would praise him. He’s blessed us because he loves us and because he’s loving and merciful he continues to bless us even when we’re ungrateful.
Psalm sixty-six is one of the Psalms that reminds us to give our praise to God. I love the way verses one and two open this psalm, “Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious.” I can just imagine one of the priests, or Levites, leading the people with this psalm as they worshipped at the tabernacle. In my imagination I hear them giving a great shout after the first sentence is delivered.
But it’s the subject of our focus text that’s caught my attention most strongly. Here we find the psalmist praising God for both the protection he’s provided and the trials he’s permitted, or perhaps even planned.
The author of this psalm realizes that we all need refining. There’s dross that needs to be removed from our lives. Sinful habits and inclinations need to be unlearned and rooted out of our lives. Faulty thought processes need to be recognized and eliminated. Quite often the only way for God to bring about the changes we need and maintain our ability to choose for ourselves is to lead us through the purifying fires of trials in our lives. In these we’re compelled to see how we really are and are given the opportunity to choose a more complete submission to him.
In many ways these trials are God’s best blessings to us. Were he to not give them we would be left to drift far from him never learning to stop hurting ourselves and those who love us.
Psalm sixty-six doesn’t just praise God for the trials he sends, every kind of blessing is mentioned or alluded to. God deserves or praise. He given us abundant reasons to return it to him. We should do as the psalmist says and make his praise glorious.