“Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!” (Psalm 66:20).
Psalm 66 is a song of thanksgiving. The author is anonymous, but his psalm recounts his gratefulness to God for delivering him and all the people of Israel from innumerable trials. He proclaims the awesomeness of God and calls all the earth to worship the Great Deliverer.
The psalm opens with an exaltation of God. All the earth is called upon to give praise to Him, because His deeds are so great that even His enemies tremble in His presence. He is worthy of the praise of all the world.
The rest of the psalm explains why this is true. The psalmist first recalls God’s wondrous deeds towards the people of Israel as He led them to the land He had promised them, first by His parting of the Red Sea and later by His parting of the Jordan River. These were great things, and through them God delivered His people from their enemies and showed them His awesome power. It certainly wasn’t difficult to praise Him for this!
The next section, though, makes praise a little harder. The psalmist begins to discuss the hardships into which God has deliberately led His people. He opens the section with a praise, acknowledging that God has “kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip” (v. 9). But his next words are a bit shocking. He reminds God of how He brought His people into a net, laid heavy burdens on them, let their enemies trample over them, brought them through fire and through water. These don’t seem to be things we would praise God for.
A little word at the end of this passage brings it full circle, though: “yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance” (v. 12). God didn’t bring His people into these situations to leave them there. Rather, He allowed these things to test them, trying them like silver to rid them of all impurities and bring them out more beautiful than before. Because of this reality, the psalmist understands that he can praise God for the hardships. He honors God by offering Him sacrifices. He rejoices to know that his prayers are heard, because he is right with God. At the end, he can continue to bless God, because he knows his Lord will never remove his steadfast love. Because of this, He is worthy of the praise of all the earth.