May 17th, 2020
Minoh International Church
Pastor Joseph Ricohermoso
Psalm 66:16~20, NIV
It is apparent that the psalmist was on a spiritual “high” at the time of his composing this hymn. The psalm is so majestic in its acclamation of praise as a direct result of answered prayer.
Clovis Chappell, one of the most gifted and effective pulpiteers of 20th-century Protestantism, referred to the 16th verse of the 66th Psalm as presenting to us “the ageless theme” — “Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.”
Here is a man of faith who is determined to get a hearing. He has a story to tell that simply will not wait. He must share it with others. So, he shouts to all who will pay attention: “Listen to my story!”
The psalmist is not getting our attention so he can discuss the latest financial aid from the government . . . the latest trend . . . the potential new vaccine being developed against COVID-19. He is not getting our attention to tell us the latest world news . . . the most recent floods or earthquakes or military threats….
What then, is the psalmist trying to tell us? Why is he so excited about it? What does he think it must do with your life and mine?
Well, it seems to me that he is determined to bring us a sure word from the Lord. He is not telling us his theories or what he hopes will be the case. He is not even engaging in theological discussion.
No, the psalmist wants us to know that he has ventured forth into the spiritual realm and has come into possession of first-hand knowledge of who God is and what He can do, not only for the psalmist, but also for ordinary people. His personal experience compels him to share his story with us.
What has God done for him?
- God has taught the psalmist that He is a prayer-answering God
“God has surely listened and has heard my prayer” (v.19)
No longer does the psalmist wonder whether God answers prayer. He knows that prayer works because it has worked in his own life. What’s happening in his life is not a coincidence. It’s not a theory.
The psalmist has come to possess an inner strength that he is sure could never have been his except through prayer. This man is feasting upon spiritual bread to which he was a stranger before he prayed.
Previously, he was overwhelmed with difficulties that seemed destined to destroy his faith in God. He was going through troublesome times in his life. But in answer to his cry, God has worked a miracle of deliverance from his gloom and despair. Suddenly, his soul is being flooded with the light of truth that he is confident can only shine through the window of prayer.
Similarly, our Lord Jesus Christ assures us of God’s answer when we ask, seek and knock on the door of heaven; when we pray according to His will in His name.
- God has taught the psalmist the secret to effective prayer.
Not long ago this psalmist seemed to be at a loss as to how to unlock the door of access to God. But today he is announcing that he has learned how to use the mightiest force available to God’s children.
You know, when you consider all of the power that is available to us today, there is none that is capable of such mighty power as prayer. Sadly, so few of us know how to use it.
During a time of great drought, the Scottish preacher Dr. Guthrie prayed for rain in the morning service. As he went to church in the afternoon, his daughter, Mary, said, “Here is the umbrella, Papa.”
“What do we need it for,” he asked. “You prayed for rain this morning, and don’t you expect God will send it?”
They carried the umbrella, and when they came home they were glad to take shelter under it from the drenching storm.
What was the essential of effective prayer that the psalmist no doubt learned? He alludes to it when he says, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (v.18). He learned the importance of confession of sins. He repented of his sinful ways.
Obviously, he also had learned the lesson of obedience. If he listened to God’s instructions and obeyed them, the psalmist stayed out of trouble; his obedient heart would not allow him to even entertain the notion of living a life that was contrary to God’s Will.
He learned that a surrendered will was the secret that opened the door of access to the heavenly Father. Unless we are willing to surrender our will to the Will of God, there will be no answer to prayer.
Please recall the admonition given to us by the apostle John: “Whatsoever we ask of him we receive because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (I John 3:22).
The utmost lesson learned by the psalmist was that, through prayer:
- God revealed to the psalmist a greater sense of Himself.
It is a great moment in the life of any of us when we can say, as did the psalmist, “but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer” (v.19).
The best part of prayer is the new sense of God that comes to those whose prayers are answered. Well, a word of caution is in order here: Not every prayer is answered in the way that we thought it would be or in the way we wanted it to be; but when we realize that our prayer was answered in God’s way, in accordance with His will, we cannot help but rejoice and be glad because of our new sense of awareness of who God is.
He is the God who listens to our petitions and takes notice of our praise. The psalmist had cried out to God with his mouth; he had praised God with his tongue; God heard his plea; God took notice of his praise; and the result was that God blessed him with peace of mind and heart.
You and I shall know the peace of God when we cry out to Him in prayer and offer words of praise to Him with our lips; afterwards, we shall realize that God has answered our prayers in His way, according to His will; and that realization will cause us to exclaim, as did the psalmist:
“Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me” (v.20).
How can we apply today’s message?
Pray in such a way that not only aim for God’s blessings, but also to apprehend His character. There’s a subtle difference between the experience of Moses, the servant of God, from that of his fellow Israelites.
In the New Living Translation, the same verse is rendered in this way: “He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel.”
They all had access to the miracles of God. They witnessed “His deeds.” But, Moses went beyond what the eyes could see. He also apprehended the greatness and generosity and glory of God.
- REPENT and OBEY.
Let us pray.