This will be a Harvest thanksgiving service, with gifts of food going to the Swale Foodbank, while monetary gifts can be placed in the envelopes provided to support the work of Baptist Missionary Society as they seek to help Sudanese refugees in Uganda.
“Songs of Praise” is the BBC’s flagship programme when it comes to religious broadcasting; and the Psalter is full of “songs of praise” that are designed to be sung (Psalm 147 v 1) while accompanied by musical instruments (Psalm 33 v 2.)Psalm 65 is the first of a cluster of 4 such Psalms aimed at giving God praise.
Why was it written?
- To celebrate a spring or autumn harvest festival.
- To recall a national deliverance from famine.
- As a reflection on the Assyrian assault on Jerusalem and King Hezekiah’s prayer for deliverance (Isaiah 36 & 37.)
The Psalm offers 3 reasons for praising God:-
1 – God’s Pardon (v 1 – 4.)
The people praise God because despite their sin, he has purged and purified them enabling them to have access to his presence, a reoccurring theme in the Psalms (Psalm 103 v 2 – 3.) Such pardon was made possible by the ministry of the Priests and by the Temples sacrificial system, whereby the shedding of an animal’s blood covered the sins of the people (Hebrews 9 v 22.) The result of such pardon was God once again hearing the prayers of his people, another regular theme in the Psalms (Psalm 18 v 6.)
We too can praise God for the fact that he has pardoned our sin at the cross, and that in Jesus we now have direct access into God’s presence, where he is attentive and hears the cry of our hearts (Hebrews 10 v 19 & Romans 5 v 1 – 2.)
2 – God’s Power (v 5 – 8.)
The people praise God because they see his power as creator, and also as controller of that which he formed out of nothing, with the maker also being the master, a dominant theme in the Psalms (Psalm 66 v 2 – 3.) This power is exerted not only over nature, but also over nations in terms of his providence.
We too can praise God for all that we see of him in creation (Psalm 19 v 1); for his work in sustaining that which he created (Colossians 1 v 7 & Hebrews 1 v 3); and for his continued sovereign involvement in the affairs of individuals and of nations.
3 – God’s Provision (v 9 – 13.)
In an evocative description of a fertile and fruitful earth the people praise God for providing for them, which for a farming community like Israel meant the provision of a good harvest, again an often repeated emphasis in the Psalms (Psalm 145 v 15 – 16.)
We too, the so called “supermarket generation,” can still praise God for his generous provision, even if today the “Lord of the harvest” can seem somewhat remote from the process of putting food on our tables. Yet he is still the one that we petition in the Lord’s Prayer – “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6 v 11) and ultimately is the great provider.
Challenge – Will you sing God’s praise for his PARDON, POWER & PROVISION?
Theme: “Is God really worthy of our praise?”
Reading: Psalm 65
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Bev Sills