Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me.
In Psalm 66, an anonymous poet celebrates God’s awesome deeds. His example of testifying to what God has done serves as an example for the whole earth, so that everyone might join in the celebration (66:1-4). In verse 5, the psalmist invites people to “come and see what our God has done.” This “seeing” happens as the psalmist uses words to paint a vivid picture of God’s salvation of Israel from Egypt.
Then, in verse 16, the psalm writer invites people not to see, but to hear: “Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me.” In particular, the psalmist relates how the Lord heard his prayer when he cried out for help. Thus the psalm concludes: “Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me” (66:20).
Psalm 66:16 reminds me of the power of a verbal declaration of God’s faithfulness. Some Christian traditions speak of “sharing your testimony.” Others talk about “bearing witness.” At Laity Lodge, where I work, we often invite people to be a “witness” in the context of a retreat. Though their shared words might focus on how they first came to know the Lord, witnesses usually offer a broad account of how God has worked in their lives, right up to the present moment. Often, witnesses share openly their struggles and failures, as well as their successes and victories. Their words and their lives point to God’s love and grace in action.
The stories of the witnesses at Laity Lodge have unique power both to glorify God and to encourage those who have gathered in their own walk of faith. Psalm 66 encourages us to share with others the ways God is at work in our lives, not only during retreats at Laity Lodge, but in all sorts of different settings. As you invite people to “come and listen” to what God has done and is doing in your life, God will be honored and people will be drawn to a deeper relationship with him.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you heard “testimonies” or “witnesses” that have been especially encouraging to you? Do you ever tell others about what God is doing in your life? Are there situations in your life where you might be more open in bearing witness to God’s grace?
PRAYER: Thank you, dear Lord, for the example of Psalm 66. I am reminded by this psalm of the power of the spoken word to glorify you and to point people to you. Thank you for those who have openly shared with me how you have made a difference in their lives. I think of my Sunday School teachers, camp counselors, church members of Irvine Presbyterian, and many who come to retreats at Laity Lodge. How grateful I am for their testimony to you.
Help me, Lord, to speak openly with others about your grace at work in my life. May I freely tell people of how you have saved me and blessed me, like the writer of Psalm 66. Amen.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.