Vs. 1-7 call for God to be praised for demonstrating His power in the past;
Vs. 8-12 call for God to be praised for purifying His people;
Vs. 13-20 call for God to be praised for answering their prayers.
This Psalm begins like Psalm 100, and reminds Israelites to remember God is over all. There is no clear-cut description of a particular event in Israel’s history, nor is this directly linked to David, but this Psalm is indicating a definite return to God by His people.
Verses 1-7: The “shout” in verse 1 must be understood as the “sing,” “praise,” “say to God,” with words in verse 2-3. “Awesome” best describes God’s “greatness of…Power” Whose “enemies shall submit themselves.” Not only has God instilled His rules into His Creation, but He rules in human affairs to such extent that He makes enemies do His bidding! God promised Israel: “Also the LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you” (Deuteronomy 30:7); and He told Paul: “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10). “All the earth” (verses 1, 4) refer to all people, including Gentiles. Verse 5 calls attention to God’s “awesome” work when He “turned the sea into dry land” (verse 6). This refers either to the crossing of the Red Sea to make them a nation (Exodus 14:21-31) or crossing the flooded Jordan River to enter their Promised Land (Joshua 3:14-17; 4:18). Verse 7 says the same God who watches over Israel also watches over all nations! What could “Deists” possibly respond to this verse with? The whole earth is under the direct supervision of and interactions with the living God!
Verses 8-12: In verses 8-9, a call for God to be praised for keeping them alive. Verses 10-12 point out what testing God did while preserving them: refining them like silver; remembers Pharaoh’s statement: “They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in” (Exodus 14:3) and their feeling of fear; “We went through fire and through water” possibly the same sign of God’s possessing them as in Isaiah 43:1-2 as in the Red Sea all the way to the fiery furnace in Daniel 3:19-27. Hard times for God’s people are a way God has of strengthening the faith of some and trimming away those with a lack of faith! “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10).
Verses 13-20: In verses 13-15, knowledge of what “awesome” works God has done should cause one to have strong desire to worship God in the manner God has prescribed. Then it was under Moses’ Law, today it is under Jesus’ Law (John 4:19-24; Ephesians 2:11-22). God responds to the prayers of those “who fear God” (verse 16), “extol Him” (verse 17), and refuse to accept sin as normal (verse 18), for He “has heard” and “attended to” (verse 19), and not rejected prayer nor His mercy in answering (verse 20). Any Christian today who cannot thank God for answering prayer in the past doesn’t have the spiritual sight to see if, or when, God would answer a present or future prayer (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version,unless otherwise noted.