He hears prayer
Calvin says, God can no more divest Himself of the attribute of hearing prayer than He can of being. The Psalmist underscores this: God hears our prayer. Look at it. There will be silence before you and praise in Zion, O God, and to you the vow will be performed. O You who hear prayer, to you all men come. Now this is the idea that every time we pray, He hears. Now there’s always this question: Does God hear the prayer of the non believer? Well, that’s not the point of this Psalm. The point of this Psalm is everyones going to pray.
Men who hate Yahweh don’t pray; men who hate Yahweh Elohim’s people, certainly don’t pray, but it says all men. I don’t think we can expunge this one with a grammatical issue. I think He’s saying there are those who pray to me in Zion the way I prescribe the vow and everybody else is going to pray too, and eventually they will.
Marvin Tate says, “There can be little doubt. All flesh and the context in the Psalm refers to all mankind. The coming of all flesh to God may well be read with an eschatological thrust. In other words in the end, in that final day, all men will acknowledge Him, all men will bow, some willingly, and some unwillingly. Psalm 116 says, I love the Lord, because He hears my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live. The Psalmist is saying, God always hears my prayer. That’s what He’s saying in Psalm 65. What He says in Psalm 116 is just because He hears me that should be a good enough reason for me to pray.
He forgives sin
The term forgive here is a different word. It’s not the word that you’d think. Who knows what Yom Kippur means? Day of Atonement. Day is Yom. Atonement. What does atonement mean? Atone, what does it mean to have sins atoned for? To pay for and forgiven are in there, but the word means to cover. Did anyone say that? I didn’t hear it? Okay, here’s some chocolate anyway. Wake up! (Laugher). So, it means to cover.
The first time the word is used is in Genesis when Noah builds this boat. What does he do to it? He takes pitch and he covers it inside and out and that’s the first word occurrence the way it shows up in the chronology of the way we have the Bible. So He’s covering it over. The word as it’s used in its history means to cover things over and the atonement is a covering, so we say God covers our sins. But that doesn’t make sense because He can’t cover it over. It’s still there. So the word has a real problem as it’s used historically. It probably gets back to the word “ransom.” The Mercy Seat is called the Seat of Atonement. It includes the idea of substitution and redemption of someone else is taking care of it.
He blesses the one He chooses
Look again at verse 4 of Psalm 65. How blessed is the one whom You choose, and bring near to dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your Holy Temple. He hears our prayers and He forgives our sins and He blesses those He chooses. It is divine choice. It is not man’s choice.
He chooses us. Verse 4 says, He brings us near. He causes us to dwell. He satisfies us with goodness. I don’t know how many of us have wrestled with the idea that God chose you before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:13. That you had no right or merit of your own. You didn’t find Jesus; you didn’t discover Him on your own; it wasn’t something that one day you pulled it all together and said, “You know after my courses at the university about world religion, this is the one I like best.”
Who did Israel choose to be their king? They wanted a king. They wanted to be like other nations, so God put Saul in front of them. He’s head and shoulders above all the rest and he’s an abysmal failure from the beginning. Then God says, “I’m going to show them how to do it.” Here’s the firstborn. Nope, nope, nope. Anybody else? Well, there’s one little teenager out in the field taking care of sheep. Bring him in here. He’s a sixteen, seventeen year old boy named David. He’s the one. Not as the world sees. I’m going to turn it over; I’m going to show you that God’s choice is different than man’s choice. The ultimate pivot of the choice of God vs. the choice of man was the event of Goliath.
David and Goliath
A Philistine comes out for forty days and forty nights and says what? “Choose a man to fight me. If he wins, we surrender. If I win, you surrender.” Eighty times, in the morning and in the evening, forty days, he said, “Choose a man. Choose a man.” You think Israel’s army heard, “Who’s the choice?” The choice is Saul. Saul’s the big one. He’s the big guy with the really nice armor and the really big sword because he’s the number one king. He’s in the tent and he’s scared to death. A snotty nose shepherd boy smelling of sheep, bringing some cheese and bread comes into the tent and says, “I’ll do it. Who are these Philistines, uncircumcised Philistines, who taunt the armies of the Living God?”
What a depiction! A little runt and a giant. What’s the point? Choose. You chose wrong. I chose right and I’ll show you a little boy with a rock who’ll take out a giant. God’s choices always dismantle our categories. We’re not that good. So David in the Psalms says, Whom You choose to be in Your courts, Who You choose to dwell in Your houses. Sorry, I get a little worked up on that one. He hears our prayer. He forgives our sin and He blesses the ones He chooses.
Profound Blessings in Psalm 65
Now there’s some profound blessings here. Just these three: To think that God hears my prayer. God forgives my sin and God has chosen me. If we stop there, we’d have enough. When you and I pray glibly and repetitively for a meal, has the Sovereign of the universe heard you? When you pray for your son or daughter who doesn’t know the Lord, your grandchildren who have made choices and turns you don’t like, in your loneliness as a widow or widower, in the heartbreak to experience the cancer that you have, the heart troubles that you have, and you pray those glib prayers, do you know He hears you? He hears me? Even when I pray poorly, He hears me. He forgives me!
Can a man live, can a man be pure before God? Answer: No! But Christ is righteous before God. Christ does not sin and I’m in Christ so somehow in the Holy Spirit’s control, I am to be submissive to His will and His Word and I’m not to sin. Then I sin. But He forgives me. How glad I am!
Our God is Righteous and Omnipotent
Verse 5, By awesome deeds you answer us. In righteousness, O God of our salvation, You who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea; Who established the mountains by His strength, Being girded with His might; Who stills the roaring of the seas, The roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples. Let me just show you the parallel there because it’s easy to see. The roaring is twice and the tumult. Roaring, roaring, tumult. The sea, the waves, the people. It builds to a little bit of a crescendo. It’s not just the roaring of the seas God controls, He even controls the mobs, of the people, the roaring of the people. Verse 8, they who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.
Righteousness is one of these words that means everything and therefore it means nothing. What does it mean to be righteous? What does it mean for Yahweh to be righteous. It means that He corrects every injustice. Yahweh corrects every injustice. God is holy; He is ethical; His standards are perfect; He is never capricious; He never acts quickly; There’s no knee jerk response from God; God doesn’t get frustrated and destroy a bunch of people one day; God doesn’t get lonely, and tired, and angry, in the way we think of these terms. God always does the right thing by His ethical and holy standard.
The Law in The Eyes of The Jews
Now listen, this is Greco- Roman thinking because for the Jew, it wasn’t how man interpreted the law, it was what did God say? So for the law to judge righteously was to follow the literalness of the law. We get all upset and humored by the Rabbis adding laws to the law. No! They did exactly what you’re supposed to do. You’re not to take the case and say, “Well the donkey fell in the ditch and the Sabbath law says you’re not supposed to work on the Sabbath.” Is that work? So they’re trying to define very carefully when is it work on the Sabbath? Because that wasn’t specified in the law. Jesus comes along and shows them “Look, the law wasn’t intended to be the God.”
The law was to show you, you couldn’t do it. I can fulfill the law. The law was a continual reminder of your failure and David got that, but this corpus of law that He’s talking about here is, we’re not judging. It’s man’s interpretation. We’re judging against God’s law and this is why He’s righteous because He always does what His law says. He’s partial to His own judicial system. We all want the righteous judge. Psalm 145:17, The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and kind in all His deeds. Do we really believe that?
The Psalmist, Hosea asked the question: Why do the wicked prosper? Habakkuk: Why do the wicked prosper? Why do the wicked succeed? Where are you God? Act! That’s the Psalmist lament and question. We have a righteous God. He’s not a cold hearted, clever prosecutor or a cold hearted, greedy defense attorney. He’s a perfect, righteous judge.
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