World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
66. Psalm 66
Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:
2Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.
3Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.
4All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.
5Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men.
6He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him.
7He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.
8O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard:
9Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.
10For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
11Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.
12Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.
13I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows,
14Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble.
15I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.
16Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.
17I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue.
18If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
19But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.
20Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.
17. I cried unto him with my mouth He proves that he owed his safety to Divine interposition, from the circumstance of his having prayed, and in consequence, having sensibly experienced his kindness. Answers to prayer serve in no small degree to illustrate the goodness of God; and confirm our faith in it. In saying that he cried to God with his mouth and tongue, these are terms denoting, as we have seen in a previous part of the psalm, the vehemency and earnestness with which he prayed. Had he not prayed from the heart, he would have been rejected, but he makes mention of the tongue also, in token of the ardor of his supplications. Some absurdly imagine, that because the expression under the tongue is used, the meaning is with the heart Words are said to come from under the tongue, because they are formed by the flexion of the tongue, as in that passage,
“The poison of asps is under their lips,” (Psalm 140:3)
The term extol intimates, that we cannot honor God more in our worship, than by looking upwards to him for deliverance. The Papists rob him of a chief part of his glory, when they direct their prayers to the dead or to images, and make such little account of calling upon the name of the Lord.
The Psalmist next lays down the rule, which must be attended to, if we would pray properly and acceptably; guarding against that presumptuous exercise which overlooks the necessity of faith and penitence. We see with what audacity hypocrites and ungodly men associate themselves with the Lord’s people, in compliance with the general calls of the word to engage in prayer. To check this solemn mockery, the Psalmist mentions integrity of heart as indispensable. I am aware that the words may be considered as an assertion of his own personal uprightness of conduct, as we find him frequently vindicating this, by an appeal to the visible and practical proofs which God had shown of his favor to him; but his main object is evidently to enforce by the example of his own exercise the common propriety of drawing near to God with a pure heart. We have a parallel scripture in John 9:31, “We know that God heareth not sinners.” In one sense, he hears none but sinners; for we must all conform to the great rule of applying to him for the remission of our sins. But while believers make an unreserved confession of guilt before God, by this very thing they cease to be sinners, for God pardons them in answer to their supplications. We are not to forget the words of Paul,
“Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity,” — (2 Timothy 2:19)
Besides, to regard iniquity in the heart does not mean to be conscious of sin — for all the Lord’s people must see their sins and be grieved for them, and this is rather praiseworthy than condemnable; — but to be bent upon the practice of iniquity. He particularly refers to the heart, intimating that not only were his hands clean, in the sense of his being innocent before men, but that he could appeal to God in proof of his inward integrity. When the heart does not correspond to the outward conduct, and harbours any secret evil intent, the fair exterior appearance may deceive men; but it is an abomination in the sight of God, The Psalmist affirms with emphasis, that his prayers had been answered, and we ought to draw the inference that we shall never be disappointed, if we seek God in sincerity.