Encounter With God Sunday 16th August 2020 – Count Your Blessings
TODAY’S TOPIC: COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
Opening Prayer: Lord, Your beneficence is boundless.
Read PSALM 65
For the director of music. A psalm of David. A song.
1 Praise awaits[b] you, our God, in Zion;
to you our vows will be fulfilled.
2 You who answer prayer,
to you all people will come.
3 When we were overwhelmed by sins,
you forgave[c] our transgressions.
4 Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.
Encounter With God Sunday 16th August 2020
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,
6 who formed the mountains by your power,
having armed yourself with strength,
7 who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.
8 The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
where morning dawns, where evening fades,
you call forth songs of joy.
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.
a Psalm 65:1 In Hebrew texts 65:1-13 is numbered 65:2-14.
b Psalm 65:1 Or befits; the meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
c Psalm 65:3 Or made atonement for
d Psalm 65:9 Or for that is how you prepare the land
New International Version (NIV)
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Meditate: Encounter With God Sunday 16th August 2020
“Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done… were I to speak and tell of Your deeds, they would be too many to declare” (Psa. 40:5).
The phrase “count your blessings” has become something of a cliché. Worse still, it can sometimes be recited unfeelingly when someone is in distress—it is vital to walk sensitively alongside those who are hurting. Yet it is true that Christians really can count their blessings—or at least try—for there are so many of them. In powerful language and imagery, this psalm shows us what some of them are.
First, there are the blessings of creation. God formed the “mountains by [his] power” (6); indeed, he created the entire cosmos. More than that, he sustains his creation. In verses 9–13 we see this idea expressed magnificently. Take time to drink in the poetry of these verses. Sin has skewed God’s otherwise perfect creation, which “groans” as a result, waiting until it “will be liberated” at the parousia, the return of Christ (Rom. 8:18–22).
Yet God cares for it (and, of course, calls us to join with him in this vital work). Thanks to his grace, creation is still wonderful, and so we praise him for it. Second, there are the blessings of salvation. Verses 2–5 are a powerful summary of the Gospel. We were “overwhelmed” by sins (3), but God heard our prayer and chose us for forgiveness. All this is perfectly fulfilled in Jesus: it is he who has made our redemption possible through his “awesome and righteous deeds” (5).
Overall, the psalm speaks of God’s “staggering generosity” (Walter Brueggemann, Psalms, 136). Today, all over the world people are coming to worship God on “the first day of the week” (Mark 16:2), praising him for his extraordinary grace towards us. What a privilege it is to join them and praise our Creator and Savior God, the one who blesses us! In response, we “shout for joy and sing” (13)!
Apply: Father, thank You for Your many blessings. You made me, You give me life each day and You have saved me eternally. I live to praise Your wonderful name!
Closing Prayer: Lord, as I look around me and become aware of Your all-controlling hand, I become all the more grateful for my life here on earth and my redemption for all eternity.
ONE YEAR BIBLE READING PLAN
Proverbs 17,18 / Psalms 92,93
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