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by Zane C. Hodges

    You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.
      --Psalm 65:11

So wrote King David centuries ago. Or perhaps he wrote this as a young man taking care of his father's sheep. Or he might even have written it while he was a fugitive from the hatred of King Saul.

It doesn't really matter when he wrote it, for he could have written it in any year of his life. And in any year since then, right up through 1991! For what David has written is a timeless truth about God's way of dealing with His people throughout the ages.

And it is with God's people that David is chiefly concerned. In fact, he opens the Psalm with these words:

    Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion.

A little later he writes:

    We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, of Your holy temple.
      -Psalm 65:4b

So it is of Israel, God's Old Testament people, that David is mainly thinking.

But his thoughts branch out to all mankind when he says:

    By awesome deeds in righteousness You will answer us [Israel], O God of our salvation, You who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of the far-off seas . . .
      -Psalm 65:5

And it is of the entire earth that David is thinking in the verses that come right before the verse we are looking at (v 11). In those verses he expounds God's "goodness" in these words:

    You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; You provide their grain, for so You have prepared it. You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its furrows; You make it soft with showers, You bless its growth.
      -Psalm 65:9-10

The complete simplicity of David's gratitude is touching. It is not of great achievements that David speaks, but of the regular and ordinary things that God does in and through His creation. These constitute the "goodness" with which God crowns the year, and for which David praises Him.

Perhaps, then, in this opening month of 1992 we should cast a backward glance at 1991. Was 1991 a year that God crowned with the simple things that make our lives liveable and tinged with joy? Of course it was.

But 1991 was also a hard year for many. Some lost loved ones in the Persian Gulf War. Others suffered financial reverses in a year of recession. Others experienced grave illnesses and other misfortunes. But David does not say that God makes every aspect of every year an undivided joy. Instead he says that God CROWNS the year with His goodness.

No matter what your experience in 1991 might have been like, I am sure you can find more than a few expressions of God's goodness which are the crowning aspects of your life last year.

Did you have food on your table? Did you have moments of happiness with your family? Did God teach you anything about Himself? Did you enjoy some special times of prayer fellowship with Him? Were there answered prayers? What are the good things with which God crowned 1991 for you?

"Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion," David wrote. Does praise wait for Him among us as well? Especially among us who believe in God's absolutely free salvation? Surely we can gratefully say with the Apostle Paul:

    Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
      -2 Corinthians 9:15

The song which we sang so often in a small Baptist church I attended in my childhood still speaks to me today:

    Count your blessings,
      Name them one by one;
    Count your blessings,
      See what God has done!
    Count your blessings,
      Name them one by one;
    Count your many blessings,
      See what God has done!

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