WHO GOD IS gives me more than enough reason to be hopeful this new year. But as I reflected on Psalm 65 this first week of 2013, David’s beautiful song led me to two more reasons for my personal assurance. Thus, I welcome 2013 with hope . . .
Because of What God Does for His People
God hears their prayers (verse 2). David wrote out of his personal knowledge and experience of the God of Israel. He knew how God answered the prayers of his forefathers – for protection from their enemies, for provision for their needs, for direction in their long journey to the land that Yahweh promised them. In his own life, David saw how God answered his cries for help, especially when he was pursued by his enemies.
God grants forgiveness to those who ask for it (verse 3). David experienced this truth for himself. He failed many times, big time! He described his situation as “overwhelmed by sins.” He committed adultery with Bathsheba who was married to one of his soldiers. Not only that, he used his power as king to have Bathsheba’s husband killed in battle. David wrote many psalms (e.g. Psalm 40) that expressed his deep sorrow for his sins and his personal experience of Yahweh’s mercy and forgiveness.
Thousands of years after David, God sent his own Son, Jesus to die on the cross for the sins of the world. Those who encountered Jesus and believed in His message of forgiveness from sin and promise of eternal salvation became his bold followers. They proclaimed the good news to others, and those who believed them spread the Word . . . which, by God’s wonderful grace, reached me generations and generations after them. To this day, God offers His free gift of forgiveness to anyone who comes to him in humility and helplessness.
God does awesome deeds and wonders (verses 5-8). The history of Israel was rich with Yahweh’s wonders and miracles. David’s forefathers, led by Moses, journeyed in the presence of God from the moment they stepped out of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 4:33-34). Yahweh parted the Red Sea for them to escape the Egyptian soldiers. Throughout their Exodus, He led them in the form of a cloud or fire. He showered them from the heavens with food in the midst of the desert.
When Jesus came to Israel, he demonstrated the power of God his Father. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead to life, fed 5000 people from five small barley loaves and two small fish. He turned around the lives of tax collectors, prostitutes, demon-possessed men, thieves, and murderers. Finally, He died on the cross for mankind’s sin and rose again on the third day, sealing the promise of resurrection for those who made him their Savior. I can’t think of any other miracle greater than this!
To this day, God has worked wonders in the lives of the faithful. Healing from sickness, healing of relationships, protection from evil, financial provision, freedom from addiction, changed lives! This 2013, I look forward to witnessing the Lord’s awesome deeds in my life and the lives of my family and loved ones; in my local church, in my community, in my country; in this world He created for His glory!
God blesses and provides abundantly (verses 9-13). David believed that the abundant harvest he and the people of Israel enjoyed was God’s plan in the first place. “You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance (verse11). Yahweh cared for their land, their streams and their rivers, and sent the rains to ensure that His people would have their grain. Imagine “meadows covered with flocks” and valleys “mantled with grain” (verse 13)! David’s rich metaphors describe the riches God bestowed on His beloved.
Despite global warming and the worldwide recession (which are humankind’s own making), despite famines and poverty in many parts of the world, I still believe that God continues to care for His Creation and to provide for His people, abundantly if He so desires. He gives according to His bounty (which is boundless); He gives with liberality.
The psalmist and king, David had proven the God of Israel and wrote beautiful songs in praise of Him. The Son of God Himself, Jesus lived among the people of Israel and showed them the face of his Father. People of faith through the ages had testified to the unfailing love and goodness of the one true God they worship.
As for me, this same God has remained constant and faithful. He answers my prayers. He assures me of His forgiveness whenever I fail. He works wonders in my life in many ways I’m not even aware of. He provides for my daily needs and gives much more than I expect. He delights and surprises! He protects and strengthens. He loves unconditionally. He has done all these for me because He loves me. I believe He will do so again this year and next year and all throughout my lifetime.
Why am I hopeful this 2013? For my hope is real because it rests on nothing less than God’s wonderful love, goodness, and grace.
“Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf” (Psalm 66:5).
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5).