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Psalm 65 1
1 Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled. 2 O you who hear prayer, to you all men will come. 3 When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave 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. 5 You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O 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 Those living far away fear your wonders; where morning dawns and 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. 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 desert 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.

image_05Background 2

Many Bible students think that this is a harvest psalm. Harvest is when people pick the fruits and vegetables that they need for food. The Jews had three harvests:

  1. Passover (March-April). This was the first harvest, when they brought in grain called barley. They made bread from barley.
  2. Pentecost (May-June). This was the second harvest, when they brought in grain called wheat. They also made bread from it.
  3. Tabernacles (September-October). This was the last harvest, when they picked the grapes. They made wine from the grapes.

These harvests remind us of the bread and wine that Jesus said were his body and blood. Paul also reminds us that because Jesus died at Passover he was the first harvest of the new people of God! (“The first fruits of them that slept”, 1 Corinthians 15:20.)

If Psalm 65 is a harvest psalm, then it is for use at Passover. There would be no grain still in the fields at the second and third harvests.

But we can look at the psalm in a different way. We can say that:

  • verses 1 – 4 tell us that God saves us
  • verses 5 – 8 tell us that God is powerful
  • verses 9 – 13 tell us that God gives us plenty of good things.

When kings and their soldiers went through a country, they often took everything away with them. When God as king goes through a country, he leaves more than he takes! When David wrote this psalm, he had not built the temple. His son Solomon did that. So, verse 4 is about the tent that David used as a temple, or someone else changed the psalm after Solomon built the temple.

Biblical Truths

Verse 1 is difficult to understand. Maybe it means that it is good to be silent before God. This is how we have translated it. Or maybe it means that there is silence where there should be praise. Some translations say that this is what it means. Also, some Greek Bibles have “in Jerusalem” at the end of the verse. Zion is the hill in Jerusalem where Solomon built the temple.

Verse 3 Many people feel that their sins are like a weight on them. It makes them very sad. Here, David felt like that. But he also knew that God could take the weight away. “Take away” in Hebrew is “blot out”. It is like hiding a mark by putting a bigger mark on it. You cannot see the first mark! You have “blotted it out”. If you want to know more about sin, disobedience and blotting out sin, read the notes in Psalms 32 and 51 in this set of psalms.

Verse 4 The courts are the parts of the temple outside the main building. There were lots of little rooms for God’s servants to live in.

Verse 5 Everything that God does is righteous. This means that there is nothing wrong or bad in it. But some of the things that he does make people afraid. We call what they feel “fear”. It makes some people frightened of God. It makes others see how great he is, and they want to love and worship him. We call this sort of good fear “awe”.

In verses 6 – 8 we have the second sort of “fear of God”. God gives these people hope, and they want to shout for joy to him. In other words, they are so happy that it makes them sing to God!

Verse 6 “Made the mountains” is really “put the mountains in their places” in Hebrew. Jesus said that our prayers could move mountains as well! That is because when we pray God shows people how strong he is.

Verse 7 Jesus did this when he was in a boat with his friends. They thought that they were going to drown because the storm was so bad! But Jesus stopped the storm so that the waters made no noise.

Verse 8 One very important thing about this psalm is that it says everyone can come to God. Look in verse 2. “Every man and woman should come”. And in this verse “those that live far away see how great you are”. How far? From the east (“where morning starts”) to the west (“where evening finishes”)! Psalm 65 tells us that we do not have to be Israelites. We can all come to God, wherever we live!

Verse 9 “Prepared” means that God did things to the land so that it gave lots of fruit and vegetables. Rain was important to the Jews. Without it, there were no fruit and vegetables. They would die of hunger. But God sent plenty of water. “Grain” is a word that means the fruit of plants like wheat, corn, barley, and others. We use them to make bread.

Verse 10 When we plough the earth, the plough does not leave it flat. But the rain makes it flat again. It also makes it soft so people can plant seeds.

Verse 11 Then comes the harvest. That is the best time of the year, says David in the psalm! God gives plenty of good things.

Verses 12 – 13 Here are 4 places where God gives plenty of good things:

  • the wild places where not many people live
  • the hills where it is hard to grow things
  • the places where farmers keep lots of sheep
  • the valleys near the rivers where the grain grows.

In all these places … in fact, everywhere … God gives plenty. We often say that he “blesses” us. That word “blesses” really means that when we plant seeds we will get lots of fruit and vegetables; when we keep sheep there will be many baby sheep (lambs); and men and women will have children. “Bless” means good harvests of all sorts!

Items for Discussion

  • Do you think that society today gives credit to God for its abundance? Why or why not?
  • In times when it appears that there is no abundance, how to you reconcile this psalm?
  • What are the attributes about humanity that causes them to take credit for their success?
  • What about God’s power can be seen in Christ’s life?
  • What is missing in the Christian life that children do not grow up understanding that all comes from God?

 

1 Timothy 6:17-20
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, …

Background

The three letters—1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and the Letter to Titus—are called “pastoral letters,” apparently because in them Paul provides instructions to two of his associates, Timothy and Titus, on the pastoral offices and their duties in the church. The pastoral letters resemble one another in terms of vocabulary and style more so than they resemble Paul’s travel letters or his prison letters; it is obvious the three letters belong together, most likely because they have something in common.

Biblical Truths 3

Verse 17. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded. One of the evils to which they are particularly exposed. The idea is that they should not value themselves on account of their wealth, or look down with pride and arrogance on their inferiors. They should not suppose that they are any better men, or any nearer heaven, because they are wealthy. Property really makes no distinction in the great things that pertain to character and salvation. It does not necessarily make one wise, or learned, or great, or good. In all these things the man who has not wealth may be vastly the superior of him who has; and for so slight and unimportant a distinction as gold can confer, no man should be proud. Besides, let such a man reflect that his property is the gift of God; that he is made rich because God has chosen to arrange things so that he should be; that it is not primarily owing to any skill or wisdom which he has; that his property only increases his responsibility, and that it must all soon be left, and he be as poor as the “beggar that lies at his gate;” and he will see ample reason why he should not be proud.

Nor trust in uncertain riches. Riches are uncertain because they may soon be taken away. No dependence can be placed on them in the emergencies of life. He who is rich to-day, has no security that he will be tomorrow; and if he shall be rich tomorrow, he has no certainty that his riches will meet his necessities then. A man whose house is in flames, or who is shipwrecked, or whose child lies dying, or who is himself in the agonies of death, can derive no advantage from the fact that he is richer than other men. That against which Paul here directs Timothy to caution the rich, is that to which they are most exposed. A man who is rich, is very liable to “trust” in his riches, and to suppose that he needs nothing more. He feels that he is not dependent on fellow-men, and he is very likely to feel that he is not dependent on God. It is for this cause that God has recorded so many solemn declarations in his word respecting the instability of riches, and that he is furnishing so many instructive lessons in his providence, showing how easily riches may suddenly vanish away.

But in the living God.

  1. He is able to supply all our wants, and to do for us what riches cannot do; and
  2. He never changes, or leaves those who put their trust in him. He is able to meet our wants if in the flames, or in a storm at sea, or when a friend dies, or when we lie down on a bed of death, or wherever we may be in the eternal world.

Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. The meaning of this seems to be, that God permits us to enjoy everything. Everything in the works of creation and redemption he has given to man for his happiness, and he should therefore trust in him. He has not merely given wealth for the comfort of men, but he has given everything; and he on whom so many and so great blessings have been bestowed for his comfort, should trust in the great Benefactor himself, and not rely merely on one of his gifts. Comp. {j}

Verse 18. That they do good. On the duty enjoined in this verse.

That they be rich in good works. “That their good works may be as abundant as their riches.”

Ready to distribute. To divide with others. Comp. Acts 4:34. The meaning is that they should be liberal, or bountiful.

Willing to communicate. Marg., or sociable. The translation in the text is a more correct rendering of the Greek. The idea is, that they should be willing to share their blessings with others, so as to make others comfortable.

Verse 19. Laying up in store for themselves, etc. The meaning of this verse is, that they were to make such a use of their property that it would contribute to their eternal welfare. It might be the means of exalted happiness and honor in heaven, if they would so use it as not to interfere with religion in the soul, and so as to do the most good possible.

Verse 20. Keep that which is committed to thy trust. All that is entrusted to you, and to which reference has been particularly made in this epistle. The honor of the gospel, and the interests of religion, had been specially committed to him; and he was sacredly to guard this holy trust, and not suffer it to be wrested from him.

Avoiding profane and vain babblings. Gr., “Profane, empty words.” The reference is to such controversies and doctrines as tended only to produce strife, and were not adapted to promote the edification of the church.

And oppositions of science falsely so called. Religion has nothing to fear from true science, and the minister of the gospel is not exhorted to dread that. Real science, in all its advances, contributes to the support of religion; and just in proportion as that is promoted will it be found to sustain the Bible, and to confirm the claims of religion to the faith of mankind. See this illustrated at length in Wiseman’s Lectures on the connection between science and religion. It is only false or pretended science that religion has to dread, and which the friend of Christianity is to avoid. The meaning here is, that Timothy was to avoid everything which falsely laid claim to being “knowledge” or “science.” There was much of this in the world at the time the apostle wrote; and this, more perhaps than anything else, has tended to corrupt true religion since.

Items for Discussion

  • What temptations for those who are rich does Paul mention?
  • What does Paul command for people who are rich?
  • What is Paul’s final warning to Timothy?
  • Does it sound like even someone as strong as Timothy could be tempted to wander away from the faith? What does that tell us about the danger of false teaching for ourselves and our church?
  • What about current events are supported by this Scripture?

Discussion Challenge

  • What can each of us do in these troubling times to help our congregation live up to Paul’s challenges to Timothy?
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