Be Silent to God

I love being out in nature!  I love how the beauty of God’s creation fuels my soul.  I love how mountains and valleys, and trees and flowers, and lakes and rivers, and deserts and oceans, and wildlife fill me with a mix of thrill and peace and awe.  I agree wholeheartedly with John Muir’s assessment, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of autumn.”

Psalm 65 seems to have been written after spending time soaking in the wonders of nature.  It is titled, “Thanksgiving for Earth’s Bounty.”  The opening words of the psalm declare, “Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion….”  The word translated in the New Revised Standard Version as “due” comes from a Hebrew root meaning ‘to be silent.’  This opening verse is translated most literally as “Praise is silence to you.”  This suggests a kind of awe that leaves us without words.  Derek Kidner comments, “It may sometimes be the height of worship…to fall silent before God in awe of His presence and in submission to His will.”  Charles Spurgeon remarks, “Certainly, when the soul is most filled with adoring awe, she is least content with her own expressions, and feels most deeply how inadequate are all mortal songs to proclaim the divine goodness.”

Psalm 65 nudges us to put ourselves, from time to time, in places or situations where all we can do is stand in awe of God’s goodness

The final verses of Psalm 65 (verses 9-13) sound like a Thanksgiving Hymn: “You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it.  You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.  You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness.  The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.”

In your mind, can you get a glimpse of the beauty that surrounded the psalmist?  Can you recall beauty you have beheld?  Can your soul share in the sense of awe and gratitude expressed by the psalmist?

This psalm stirs up in my soul a hymn:

               For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies,

               For the love which from our birth over and around us lies,

               Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise!

               For the wonder of each hour of the day and of the night,

               Hill and vale, and tree and flower, sun and moon, and stars of light,

               Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise!

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