Read through Psalm 65
We start Psalm 65 with thanks and praise for answered prayer and the forgiveness of sins (verses 1-4). This is followed by the rest of the psalm outlining the restorative power – taking turmoil and turning it into abundance and joy. Forgiveness is the beginning of the restoration process and it reorients us into a relationship with God. Furthermore, as James H. Waltner puts it in his commentary on the Psalms, “Forgiveness of sin is the prerequisite of a true relationship with God and the beginning of thanksgiving…” Our forgiven life paves the way for a thankful life. Just as the water is needed to enrich the land after drought to bring about “abundance” and life (verse 9-13), thankfulness needs the quenching power of forgiveness as it reminds us of the abundant life we have in Christ. When we understand forgiveness, then we can truly see the character of God through a relationship with God.
Take another look at these verses that speak of drought stricken land being watered and made fertile, enriched, and blessed by the Lord:
9 You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.[d]
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing.
These verses show the cascading effect the water has on not just making the land fertile for growth, but overflowing blessings as the bounty increases, the flocks are able to graze, and food is provided. This serves as a perfect reminder of where our hearts are before forgiveness; sinful and in turmoil – needing the cascade of forgiveness. Before embracing deliverance, we are parched land lying fallow, and unable to reap a harvest of fruitfulness or abundance. Regardless, when we accept and rest in the identity that we are forgiven by God, we can begin to recognize His amazing deeds and His work in us and through us. As we continue to cultivate a relationship with the God of forgiveness and blessing, we cannot help but reap a harvest of thanksgiving. Even here, creation shows gratitude for God’s blessings, “The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.” (verse 12-13; emphasis mine).
We can see the deeds of His hands, and know that we put our hope in those very same hands. As the Psalmist declares in verse 5, “You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.”
Then the psalm continues with not just declaring what God does, but who he is, a powerful, steadfast, restorative God who evokes joy and deserves praise (verse 6-8). As we continue in the psalm, the image of the roaring seas, which in the Old Testament represents chaos, and the mountains, which represent stability, reinforce the character of the God who restores things that were once in turmoil.
When we experience turmoil, when we are in times of drought, holding on to our identity as a forgiven people will help us to root the harvest of our lives in thanksgiving and praise. We are changed by forgiveness in such a profound way, that we cannot help but continue to see God at work in everything, since we know Him and seek Him. This is the same for when we are living in a season of abundance and gladness.
So, how do we cultivate our relationship with God? I think the psalmist makes it clear in verse 2, “You who answer prayer, to you all people will come,” we need to go to the Lord and more specifically, we need to go to the Lord in prayer. To grow in relationship with God, we have got to cultivate that relationship through prayer. We need to let prayer be a means of care for our relationship with the Lord. How can a relationship with God grow and thrive if we do not pray and talk to our Father in heaven? How can we have a posture of confession, thankfulness, and praise, if we do not practice those things in prayer? We see it very clearly here in the psalm (verse 2-3), that the people go to the Lord in prayer, awaiting His forgiveness, His deliverance, and His abundant life…and so should we.
Consider & Discuss
How is your prayer life currently? Is it thriving or does it not even have a pulse?
What are the biggest obstacles to you praying regularly?
Think about some current situations in your life. Which ones have you prayed about and which ones have you not brought to the Lord? Bring them to the Lord today.
Use the A.C.T.S. model for your prayer today.
Adoration – Worship the Lord and what is wonderful about Him.
Confession – Lay your sins before the Lord. Don’t hide from Him.
Thanksgiving – Say “thank you” to the Lord for who He is and what He has done for you.
Supplication – Bring the requests of your heart and those around you to the Lord.
Sometimes it helps to write down your prayers, but I highly encourage you to pray them aloud.