The God who deserves all praise

Audio Player

Good evening, please take a seat. What are you thankful for this season? Maybe it’s the good weather, family holiday, things going well at work, and good friends. Or maybe it’s more difficult to be thankful because circumstances are hard right now; physical health is poor, mental health is poor, finances are tight, and work is stressful. Well, in Psalm 65 today, it’s likely that psalmist writes this song of praise as they’re coming out of a season of drought where food was scarce and sin against God was heavy, and into a season of plenty of provision in the crops ready for harvest. We’ll see today that whichever season we’re in, we can always praise a God who saves. His praises to God look at three aspects of his character in particular that we can praise; God the Redeemer, God the Creator, and God the Provider. We need his help to praise him so let’s pray before moving on.

1. God the Redeemer

As always, it’ll be good to have your Bibles opened to page 480. In the first four verses we see praises to God because he is God the Redeemer. Psalm 65.1-4:

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion, and to you shall vows be performed. O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come. When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions. Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!

God hears his people when they ask for his help. In times of great physical need for food, and spiritual struggle with sin, God hears prayer. And that’s why all flesh (or all people) can come to him asking for his help. Next, God forgives sin. We can picture the state David and the people were in before. Iniquities prevailing against David speaks of sin that overwhelms. The kind of sin that made them feel like they’ve failed big time. Maybe they’d placed their hopes in other gods again and felt far away from God, deep in despair. That kind of sin God wipes clean. And David recognises that it’s God who will provide the sacrifice to atone for all their sin (ultimately through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross). But the redeeming of his people doesn’t stop there because God restores relationship. It’s not “your sins are forgiven, now continue with your life”. It’s “your sins are forgiven so that you can come back into relationship with your God and back into his temple”. And notice the heavy lifting is all done by God, Blessed is the one you choose and bring near to dwell in your courts!

All this David sings praise to God from the other side of having prayers answered and sins forgiven. For us, if we were to praise the Redeemer God, it has to start by coming to God in repentance before we can be forgiven and restored. That’s being aware of our how we’ve sinned against God, humble to ask for his forgiveness, and ready to live his way. Because God’s redeeming work is deeply personal, we need to be seeking a right relationship with him if we want to be praising him.

So, whether it’s your first time or your hundredth time, ask God to do what you can’t in forgiving your sins. And only then would you be praising him for his goodness and grace. Not with head knowledge from a distance but having experienced his redemption yourself. Then we’ll see how great it is to be dwelling with him – spending time in his Word and with his people. So, let’s come to God in repentance and praise him, the Redeemer who forgives.

2. God the Creator

If the first few verses show us the depth of God’s personal character, the next part gives the breadth of his saving power as God the Creator. Have a look from Psalm 65.5-8 and observe the scale of God’s work:

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

In his saving, there is confidence in who God is as the Creator. Here we see the reach of his saving power which extends to the ends of the earth and farthest seas – beyond his chosen nation in Israel back then. The One who established the mountains – power and stability in creation. The one who stills the roaring seas – control and authority over chaos. All these were sung to give praise to God while reminding themselves of the confidence they can have. In times of worry for the unreached nations far away, God’s coverage plan has no limit. In times of lack in food and resource, God has displayed his mighty works in creation and can do far more. In times of unrest in surrounding nations, God has control just like he has over the wildest storms.

When we’re reminded of God the Creator, it puts our concerns for what’s happening around us in perspective. The unreached people groups across the globe who haven’t heard the good news of Jesus are not too far from his saving grace. All of creation points to a higher power in God that even those who haven’t heard of him yet are in awe at his mighty works. The unrest in countries at war and the confusion in divided societies are still under the authority of God who can still them at any moment. And ultimately, only when Jesus returns bringing new heavens and new earth, will all chaos come to an end. It is right to be concerned for the lost and the destruction happening around the world but knowing that the God who created all things is in control should give us confidence that he will make all things right in his time. That confidence comes from knowing God the Creator. So, the next time you feel defeated by the state of the world that can look bleak, would you look upon the mountains to remember who has the power to create them from nothing into something. Would you look upon the seas to remember who has the authority to still the roaring storms with a spoken word. Would we help each other cast our eyes on him so that we can have confidence in God the Creator and praise him. Lastly, we can give thanks to:

3. God the Provider

Have a look with me at our last few verses. Look out for God’s work and listen for the tone in how he provides. From Psalm 65.9-13:

You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.

God’s active role in visiting the earth to water it rules out any notion that he’s left the earth on autopilot. He sustains the earth by providing water and food that’s been prepared beforehand. This is not ‘just enough to get by the week’, this is ‘your wagon overflowing with abundance with produce falling off’. Then we see his great love and care for creation in the way he provides for the earth and people – greatly enriches it, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. So much that creation itself is overjoyed and spills out in song to praise the God who blesses growth. Back in those times there was a great deal about the land God promises to bless his people through. And a land that prospers often meant a nation that prospers. Seeing plenty rain after drought would have been like seeing an outpouring of life for the people who relied on the harvest. So, the psalmist directs his praise above to God, now for his provision of land, food, and water.

For us today, the same holds true – God still provides for our needs. Although the connection between our provision and God’s work is not always as clear. Sometimes that makes us think of God as if he’s on autopilot and the world sustains itself. It’s easy to see our bank statement or monthly payslips and think our companies funded that, or our parents provided that. But even big companies can fail, economies can be hit by recessions, and wars can flip livelihoods upside down. God is still the one who visits to water and provide – even if you’re not in the farming industry. So, we need to recognise the little signposts that point to the Creator every day. The flourishing nature, the money in our banks, food in the shops, water in our taps – it’s all from God who continues to provide. What a difference it would make if we started seeing creation and provision afresh with thankfulness to God. The next time you go for a shop, look upon a shelf full of food items for a few seconds longer and think “wow, he’s still at it, providing the grain”. Or when you receive your next payslip, thank God for his abundant provisions. Of course, there will be times of drought, but that doesn’t change God’s nature as Provider. Because for us on this side of heaven, all of creation and blessing ultimately points us to eternity with Jesus in new heavens where the land and provision never runs dry.

I was back home in Singapore recently after being away for two years. One of the encouragements was seeing the growth in the church that happened over two years, all of which is from God by his grace. What about the provision and growth we’ve seen here at JPC? Looking back this past year, it wasn’t long ago that we were reminded of how God met and exceeded our financial needs. Thank God for sustaining us. Many of you were part of the growth in newcomers over the lockdown, many have stepped up to fill needs, and many have grown in their faith. All of this we have God to thank for blessing the growth and providing in abundance. So, let’s not forget to give all praise and thanks to God the provider.

There’s so much in today’s psalm which gives us all the reason to sing praises of joy and thanksgiving to God. And maybe that’s still very difficult for you because you’re not in the season of plenty at the moment but in the season of drought. Well, what’s amazing about our praise to God, is it depends on him, who he is – rather than what we have or don’t have. Which is why even if we are in great physical need, we still have a Redeemer in God who
wipes clean our sin through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross – and nothing can take that relationship away. And if we are in a season of plenty, we need to look beyond creation to the Creator, look beyond provisions to the Provider, and look beyond our brokenness at the Redeemer. Whatever the season,
We can have forgiveness because he is the Redeemer. We can have confidence because he is the Creator. And we can be thankful because he is the Provider. So, let’s give all the praise to God who saves. Let’s pray.

Back to top