With the New Year around the corner, most of us will approach the holiday with tradition. Maybe it is an annual party you attend or plan, a certain food you cook (black-eyed peas anyone?) or make a list of (dare-I-say-it) New Year resolutions.
I am going to recommend that you add one more tradition to your New Year’s routine: read Psalm 65. Many of us read certain passages of Scripture for Christmas and for Easter. But what about the New Year?
I’m convinced that David wrote Psalm 65 as a new year approached. Consider how he begins the Psalm:
Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled. – Psalm 65:1
It’s almost as if David was looking ahead at a new year and saw the opportunity to praise God over 365 days (or 11 days shorter than that for the Hebrew calendar). What are you looking forward to doing in the New Year? Do you have a big trip planned, a new car purchase, kitchen remodel, joining the gym? David wanted to praise God. He was looking forward to it. He said God is waiting on it.
And of course David mentions vows. Certainly we’ve all made our share of New Year resolutions. Have you ever kept them? “I’m going to lose ten pounds this year.” Really? How have resolutions like those worked out for us over the years? Well, what if we made vows to the Lord? We’d probably be a little more serious about keeping them. The Lord is quite an accountability partner!
In verse 11 David penned, “You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.” I tend to think that he is looking back over the previous year in this case and thanking God for a really good one. God had blessed David and he is grateful for it.
In this New Year’s Psalm David looks both ahead and back. But what is really great is what is in between. David uses over 20 verbs to describe what God does for His people and His creation: Answers prayer, forgives sins, fills with good things, answers us with awesome deeds, forms mountains, arms Himself with strength, stills the roaring of the seas, calls forth songs of joy, cares for the land and waters it, provides the people with grain…and the list goes on. God truly is awesome. To borrow a line from a popular worship song, “Oh, how He loves us!”
Before we get very far into 2019, sit down with your family tonight and read this Psalm. Think about 2018. Pray about 2019. Thank God for His many attributes and the fact that He is a living and active God.
This New Year is also special because it will be Frontier Camp’s 50th Anniversary. As I reflect on my 25 years of involvement with the camp and what I know about the first 25 years, I think the words of Psalm 65 are a really good summary of the camp’s history. We thank God for what has passed, we look forward to what is ahead and we are extremely grateful for His mighty provision and blessing over these five decades.
I want to thank you for being a part of this ministry. May God bless you in 2019; may it be crowned with His bounty!