“The Key To Answered Prayer” – One Year Bible Reading (Psalms/Proverbs) – March 23

Psalm 66:1-20   A Thanksgiving Psalm By Anonymous

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Psalm 66:1-20   The Key To Answered Prayer

This psalm was written by that famous poet, Anonymous.  We don’t know who wrote it.  Verses 13-15 could be the words of King Hezekiah after his prayer (cf. Isa. 37:14–20) and subsequent victory over the Assyrians (cf. Isa. 36-37).

As the last psalm ended with praise to God by the community, so this one begins (vv. 1-4).  The entire earth will praise God (v. 4) when the King comes to reign in the Millennium.  So this psalm may have been written on the occasion of a great Israeli victory but the greatest victory will be when Jesus comes back to reign (cf. Rev. 20:4, 6).

All the non-Jewish nations are called on to praise the Lord (vv. 5-7).  Next the Jewish nation is called to praise the Lord (vv. 8-12) and finally, individual believers are called to praise the Lord (vv. 13-20).

Yahweh protected the Jews as they passed through the Red Sea (v. 6).  Had the Egyptians trusted Yahweh at the time as a result of seeing His power they would have been saved.  Salvation comes through the Jewish nation.

All of the books of the Bible with the possible exception of Luke were written by Jews.  The story of the Bible centers on the Jews and One Jew in particular, the Messiah and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Jews have been protected by God throughout the ages.  That tiny nation is intact today through God’s protective care, power and control.  What else could explain the scattering of the Jews throughout the globe without losing their distinctive identity?  No other ancient people can make a similar claim.  Yahweh had not let their feet slip (v. 9) though they had been tested through “fire and water” (v. 12) and been melted to be purified like silver (v. 10).

Men had even ridden over their heads (v. 12a).  God disciplines His own (cf. Heb. 12:5-11).  That’s how you know you belong to Him!  He acts like a Father to you.

King Hezekiah may have been the speaker in verse 13-20, representing all believers.  He promises to “pay his vows” (v. 13), symbolizing the keeping of all God’s laws.  You might not have realized it but in a sense, if you are true to your calling (Eph. 4:1), you made an implied vow to follow God’s ways when you trusted Christ.  You cannot lose your salvation by continuing in sinful ways but you will lose blessing here and in Heaven (cf. 2 Cor. 5: 10).

Verses 18 and 19 are two of the most important verses on prayer in the Bible.   To confess in Greek is homologeo which literally means, “to say the same thing.”  When we confess our sins, we are agreeing with God that we have sinned.  If we hold back from God and try to hide our sin or ignore it, our prayer will be stopped up.  It will crunch to a halt.  God won’t hear us (v. 18b).  The reason the Psalmist knew he was right with God was because God had heard his prayer (cf. Isa. 37:14–20).  Is God hearing your prayer?  Are you holding something back from Him that the Holy Spirit is bringing to your mind?  Deal with it.  Your blessing will be restored.

One of the scariest verses in the Bible is 1 Pet. 3:7.  Peter warns husbands there that if they aren’t right with their wives, their prayers will be plugged up.  Watch out, husbands!  Make sure you are not sinning against your spouses!

This psalm, like others we have seen recently, again ends with a call to prayer.  The psalmist again mentions Yahweh’s binding love, “lovingkindness,” hesed.  Isn’t it comforting to know that no matter what we may do or how we may act, God is bound to us in love?  As Paul said in 2 Tim. 2:13, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”

Proverbs 11:24-26   A Grain Brain

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Did you know you can be greedy and end up with less than if you had given things away?  That’s what v. 24 says.  Proverbs is wisdom literature which means it is generally true.  So you may know some pretty greedy people who keep getting richer and richer.  In the end, they will lose.

You don’t have to give everything away.  But it is good to be generous (v. 25).  You will generally be prosperous.  Have you ever known a genuinely generous person?   Weren’t you often driven by an urge to be generous back to them?

There is a book out currently warning people not to be a “grain brain.”  The thesis is that eating too many grains is not healthy.  Verse 26 warns again the same but in this case, the “grain brain” withholds good from people (v. 26).  Their outlook on life is grainy.  In contrast, the one who sells his crops to those who need it will be blessed.

Don’t be a grain brain.

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