Psalm 66

    13 You brought us to a place of abundance.

This is an outcome we all desire. It speaks of freedom to live, a place where there are few limits and abundant provision where we can really live.

The route to get here is a route that few would choose. We can be so short sighted we don’t value an end like this enough to go through the training essential to get here. It is for this reason that I have started at the glorious end and go backwards through the passage. We need the hope of a good outcome to take us through the challenge.

11 You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. 12 You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water,

The road to a place of abundance is a road that goes through oppression. This oppression is not merely circumstantial, it is the Lord who put these burdens on our backs. It is He who let people ride over our heads. This is counter to the belief of many. We struggle to accommodate a God who would allow us to be treated this way, no matter what the outcome.

When we find ourselves in such places we become so caught up with getting out that we often miss the Lord’s purposes for us. We so desire comfort now that we are unable to endure the process for the sake of the place of abundance the Lord is leading us onto.

10 For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.

The process of oppression is not some vindictive assault by an angry God, it is the refining of us to enable us to be the people who could actually appreciate the place of abundance He will lead us into. Without the training, we would not enjoy the place of abundance, but would be hankering after the next thing, or pressing for something better. Or maybe in our attitudes we would be so poisoning the people around us that we would turn the place of abundance into a battle field.

The outcome of the Lord’s testing is like silver. It is the purification of the people of God to be people of faith. This has value not only in being able to go to a place of abundance, but it has value in heaven where it will be valued for all eternity.

9 he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.

The nature of the challenge is one that leaves us fearful, and we would certainly be hesitant to go there voluntarily. Yet the fruit is so good that it is worth it, if we can find the courage to offer it to Him. If we are able, or even if He takes us through such a process as a matter of course, we do have the assurance that He will keep our feet from slipping. We may stumble but we will not fall. This is not only a secure place for us, it is also a place where we learn to trust God. We develop in faith as we see Him hold us in situations we would not expect to stand.

8 Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard;

The outcome is that the Psalmist is able to praise God.  Of course, I have been going through this Psalm backwards. But then I often find that our western logic looks at things in the reverse order from the Bible’s view.