Zion’s Joyful Praise for
the Prayer-Hearing & Benevolent God

a brief study of Psalm 65, adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 29 August 2008

Psalm 65 is a familiar psalm. I suspect that it is especially familiar to, and beloved by, psalm-singers because of its lively theme and the lively tune that is usually associated with it.

It is the first psalm that breaks cleanly with the previous twelve or thirteen psalms in its tone. The previous twelve or thirteen psalms tend to be heavy-hearted as they were grown out of the soil of persecution. Psalm 65, on the other hand, is a joyous psalm flowing out of a heart of gratitude and praise. It may be entitled “Zion’s Praise for the Prayer-Hearing and Benevolent God”

It is a psalm of joyful praise for the great God of our salvation and blessings. What should we praise God for? This psalm gives us 3 reasons: Praise Him for His Salvation (v. 1-4); Praise Him for His Mighty Power (v. 5-8) and Praise Him for His Provision (v. 9-13).

1. Praise God for His

1  Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.

Mt Zion was where the temple of God resided. Zion is the place where true worship and praise daily ascended unto the living and true God. Zion was where vows were paid. But earthly Zion has given way to the heavenly Zion, the Church of Christ (Heb 12:22).

For as soon as the stone which the builders rejected was made head-corner stone, in His resurrection, so soon did the old temple began to cease its former function.

Zion today is not located in Palestine. It is located everywhere in the world. Where the citizens of heaven are, there the city of God is. And there praises await, like runners poised and waiting at the starting line, ready to take off at the drop of a hat.

There in spiritual Zion, vows are being performed. Nay, more than that, there in Zion, the vow (v. 1) is being performed. What is the vow? The vow is the one vow that makes all the other vows possible. It is the vow of the man that God has chosen to live and die for the redemption of His people in order that they might have fellowship with God that they might glorify and enjoy Him forever. It is a vow that a people should be saved from their sin to serve God in prayer and praise.

In that the people are rejoicing in Him and praising God, the vow is being performed. The vow of this man chosen of God is being performed.

This one man opened the way for us to approach God at the throne of God. It is by Him we may confess, verse 2—

2 O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.

Our God is a prayer-hearing God. But He does not hear the prayer of everyone. “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight” (Prov 15:8). But there is none upright amongst fallen men. How then can we come before God?

We can come before God because Christ our Lord made it possible by taking our guilt upon Himself. He paid for our transgression by His blood so that they are purged away. Notice the representative principle in verse 3—

3 Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.

Our iniquities were imputed to Him who gave us this psalm. By His blood our transgressions have been purged away.

Blessed be this man and all men united to Him, for by Him we shall enjoy the praise and worship of God, forever and ever, verse 4—

4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

Who is this man whom the Father has chosen? He is none other than Christ, the elect, chief corner stone of Zion (1Pt 2:6). It is in union with Him that we shall be satisfied with the goodness of the Lord’s house. That is to say, it is by Him, that we might enjoy all the blessings of salvation, of worship and of joy in the Lord.

Beloved brethren and children, do you grasp what this psalm is saying? If you do, then you heart should be ready to leap to praise the Lord as we confess: “Praise waits for thee in Zion Lord!”

We must praise Him for salvation so rich and free in Christ Jesus. But we must also praise God for His mighty power as the second part of this psalm reminds us to do.

2. Praise God for His
Mighty Power

5 By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea: 6 Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power: 7 Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people. 8 They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.

Our God is a prayer-hearing God. For this reason, we should praise Him. But He is also a prayer-answering God!

He not only hears, but answers our prayers. Now, God does not answer our prayers according to our desire, but He delights in doing so, and it would be great dishonour to God if we come to Him for anything and doubt that He can do it.

No, no; God is almighty. He has power to answer our prayer wherever we may be and whatever our prayer may be so long as it is in accordance to His will. He will answer us according to His righteousness and His power.

His power is displayed in the creation of the mighty mountains and in calming the boisterous sea (v. 7a)—just as demonstrated by the Lord Jesus who commanded the wind and the waves, “Peace, be still” (Mk 4:39).

His power is also manifested in His power to bring peace out of war or still the tumult of the people in an instant (v. 7b).

Yea, indeed, His power is manifested even unto the uttermost parts of the world through the great wonders of nature. We think of lightning and storms; earthquakes and volcanoes; and even the simple process of sunrise and sunset (v. 8).

Do not these things call forth praise in the hearts of men? Even those who do not know the Lord are awed by the display of His power, and are sometimes moved to worship whatever they perceive to be the source of the power.

As believers we know better. We know that power belongs to Him (Ps 62:11) who is our God and Saviour.

For this reason, He is “the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea” (v. 5). Who are these? These are those who know the Lord, wherever they may be on earth. They may be exiled to a foreign land, or they may be sailing in the ocean with no sight of land or people. Yet, they may hope and trust in the Lord.

So too for all of us! Is there anyone of you who feels like you have been driven to the ends of the earth? Is there anyone who feels that he or she is being tossed to and fro on the high seas?

Remember the God we serve is the creator of the mountains and the seas. No mountain is too great that He cannot overcome. No sea is too rough that He cannot stop. No tumult amongst man is too great that He cannot still.

The Lord can bring peace. He is the God of peace. And your mediator is the prince of peace. Go therefore to the Father in the name of your mediator, and you shall find peace and rest for your souls.

Then praise Him. Praise Him for His mighty power. Praise Him as He fills your heart with confidence and hope in Him who is our almighty God, who answers our prayers in His righteousness and power.

And praise Him for He is the LORD who provides.

3. Praise God for His

9 Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.  10 Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof. 11 Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.  12 They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.  13 The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.

Israel was an agricultural people. They understood that all the material blessings they received came from the LORD. He is the one who provides the rain and the sunshine. He is the one who gives a bountiful harvest. He is the one who makes the flock healthy and prolific.

He is the one, not the farmer, nor the shepherd, nor the earth, who deserves the praises of His people when the year is crowned with goodness and our paths drop fatness.

Today, we are not an agricultural people. How do we appreciate this final stanza? Well, we must appreciate it by understanding that God will provide everything that we need, both temporal and material, eternal and spiritual.

In fact, the reference to the “river of God” (v. 9), should lead us to understand that the emphasis in this psalm is not really the temporal and material, but the spiritual and eternal.

The picture given here is that of a barren and dry land rendered fruitful by the bountiful rain that God sends and by the ‘river of God.’

Both the rain and the ‘river of God’ signify the Spirit of God and the spiritual blessings that He brings.

God’s children must look to God for the spiritual blessings that He brings to the congregation of His people.

We must look to Him to do a mighty work in our church. We must praise Him when we see His blessings upon the church.


Beloved brethren and children, let us learn to praise Him. Praise Him for salvation so rich and free. Praise Him for His mighty power in answer to prayer. Praise Him for His provisions for His people. And as we praise Him, let us learn to ask of Him, believing that He is perfectly able to hear and answer our prayers.

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jer 33:3).

May the Lord help us to pray and to praise. May He so hear and answer our prayers that we would have reason to exchange our prayers for praise. Amen.

—JJ Lim