Oh, those are words that struck fear into our hearts in high school. And in college, too. A pop quiz? A test without any warning? What was that teacher thinking? (Grin)
We are beginning a new psalm this week. Psalm 66. Here are the first four verses:
Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
2 Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious.
3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
that your enemies cringe before you.
4 All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing the praises of your name.”
It reads like a really great praise service, right?
Now, here is the question - just one question on this quiz. . . .
Did those four verses sound like our lives last week? On a scale of one to ten, how closely did we match up?
Three? Seven? Nine? Zero?
I must admit that I have a lot of room for improvement on obeying the command in verse two, "Make His praise glorious."
We don't know for sure and for certain who wrote this psalm, or why. Was it written for an historical situation? Some scholars think it was written by King Hezekiah after God delivered Israel from Sennacherib. Remember when he invaded? He was conquering town after town with his huge army of Assyrians, and he was coming for Jerusalem next. The book of Isaiah contains the account of what happened next: the angel of the Lord struck down almost two hundred thousand of the soldiers overnight, and people awakened the next morning to see all those bodies. King Sennacherib fled, but two of his sons caught him and killed him. Kind of reads like a soap opera, but we see this and also God's deliverance of Hezekiah from death, reflected in the psalm.
The reason that the scholars say it may be written about these two events is that the first half seems to speak about many people praising God for deliverance in a severe trial. The second half seems to speak more individually, and the psalmist seems to praise God for a more personal answer to his prayers.
But we don't know for sure.
What we DO know is that Psalm 66 is the second song that says the whole earth should praise God. He is the Lord and Creator of all the earth, and so we have the privilege and responsibility of spreading His praise.
Let's determine to read this psalm in our quiet times this week, so we are ready to study! And let's think about how we answered that pop quiz . . . are there any changes we need to make?