The Psalmist exhorts us to join creation in praising God for His infinite greatness. Some commentators believe that 66:8-12 refer back to the miraculous defeat of Assyria (Isaiah 36-37) and the person speaking in 66:13-20 is King Hezekiah, whose prayer the Lord answered (Isaiah 37:14-20).
Notice the "praise progression" goes from Gentile nations (66:1-7) to Israel (66:8-12) to the individual believer (66:13-20). This is a "missionary" psalm that shows that God wanted praise from ALL the earth and that His actions throughout Israel's history were to reveal Himself to the Gentile nations. "Salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22).
God's purpose is that ALL the nations (peoples) praise Him (98:4; 100:1; Romans 15:9-12).
Almost every verse mentions "ALL" nations or peoples. It is praise and a prayer that His blessings and salvation would flow out to the Gentiles. It was part of God's covenant to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. More on that in the reflections!
Last but not least, this psalm speaks of the security a believer has in the Lord. He encircles us. He is our rock in every distress and trouble. It is another Song/Psalm of Ascent that you can read about HERE.
God's purpose was for Israel to be the conduit of His blessings of salvation to ALL nations. It is seen very clearly in God's covenant promise to Abram in Genesis 12:1-3:
Now the Lord said to Abram,
“Go forth from your country,Jesus was the "summing up of all things" in that He confirmed God's desire for ALL Gentiles to come to God through Him.
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse."
For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written. (Romans 15:8-12)
Therefore I will give praise to You among the Gentiles,
And I will sing to Your name. (2 Samuel 22:50, Psalm 18:49)
Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people. (Deuteronomy 32:43)
Praise the Lord all you Gentiles . . . (Psalm 117:1)
There shall come the root of Jesse . . . (Isaiah 11:10, Revelation 5:5, 22:16)
And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles,APPLICATION
In Him shall the Gentiles hope. (Matthew 12:21)
Meditate on Romans 15:8-12.
If you want to understand MORE about God's heart for the nations, I heartily encourage you to join a class called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. If you are local, there is usually one that starts in January.
If you are not in this area, visit www.perspectives.org for a class near you.
I know that Christmas is a long way away, but I love the song "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" because it has a number of prophetic themes and speaks of God's desire for the nations.
The title comes from the well-known verse, Isaiah 7:14:
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall call his name Immanuel.
Immanuel is Hebrew for “God with us.”
The “Rod of Jesse” refers to Isaiah 11:1:
There shall come forth a rod
out of the stem of Jesse.
Jesse was the father of David, second king of Israel.
“Day-Spring” comes from Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, in Luke 1:78:
The dayspring from on high has visited us.
“Thou Key of David” is in Isaiah 22:22:
The key of the house of David
will I lay upon his shoulder.
This, in turn, refers to Isaiah 9:6:
The government shall be upon His shoulder.
I pray that this will help you understand the deeper meaning of this song, and it will be sung all year long!
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease;
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Also look at the lyrics of:
Joy to the World
Hark the Herald Angels Sing (notice the reference to Genesis 3:15!)