God the hearer and answerer of prayerRev. Ivan FosterPsalm 65:5 · Prayer MeetingWed May 18, 2022

“By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation,” Psalm 65:5.

Those of you who were here on the Lord’s Day morning will remember we sang this psalm in our opening devotions.

It was then that this portion of this verse, as it were, jumped out at me. I would like to dwell upon it for a few minutes this evening.

David the author of the psalm tells us that the Lord is the One “that hearest prayer”. It for this reason that the first verse states: “Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.” Because God answers prayer come to Him and praise Him in the place ‘where prayer is wont to be made’ (Acts 16:13). The prayer meeting ought to be a place of joy. Yes, it ought to be a place of weeping and brokenness but it is the place where tears are wiped away and broken-heartedness is healed!

In our text there is suggested to us:


‘Terrible things’ come in answer to terrible prayers, that is, prayers born out of a heart which fears of the Lord! See Ezra 9:3.

The word ‘terrible’ means ‘fear-inducing’. It first appears in Genesis 3:10 where Adam is explaining to the Lord,  “I was afraid”.

1. Are there not times when we would desire to see men and women ‘afraid’ of the Lord? Is this not such a time. David said: “The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes,” Psalm 36:1. We are surrounded by such today.

2. Paul quotes this verse in Romans 3, and he links this lack of fear of God with other vices.

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes,” Romans 3:10-18.

3. If ever there was a generation fitting such a description, it is the one amidst which we live! Therefore we must pray for ‘terrible things’ ‘fear-inducing things’ to come in answer to our prayers. So the age will end as God answers prayer, (see Rev 6:9-11), Rev 11:8-13 (11,13).


Remember the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram against Moses and what he wanted to see happen? Numbers 16:28-33. 

There are many other such instances. Elijah, 2 Kings 1:16-17; Elisha, 2 Kings 7:17-20; Jeremiah, Jeremiah 28:15-17. Psalm 69, so illustrative of the Saviour and His agonies on the cross, 9, 21 (Matt 27:34). See how David prayed in that psalm, 20-28.


1. Ignorance of the Lord’s acceptance of such prayers. I have given you the example of God having answered Moses’ prayer. Paul provides us with a New Testament example of such praying. Acts 13:9-12.

Think on these verses. “For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet,” Psalm 47:2-3. “Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee,” Psalm 66:3. “At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep. Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?” Psalm 76:6-7.

Above all remember the fate of the wicked for that shows the terribleness of God’s wrath and His enemies.

“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire,” Revelation 20:14-15. Nothing can be more terrible and fearful than the fate reserved for the wicked!

2. Ignorance of the fact that we are in a time when such prayers are called for. God’s people are often in dark ignorance of the times we live in. The Saviour’s rebuke to the Pharisees and the Sadducees, Matthew 16:2-3.

“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment,” 1 Chron 12:32. Only small number had ‘understanding of the times’. So it is today!!

3. A consideration of the verse: “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy,” Habakkuk 3:2.

Yes, we do need to plead for poor blind sinners but there are time when we must specifically pray against evil people for the sake of those they have duped and whom they will lead to hell. Pul in Acts 13:9-12, as already mentioned.

Jeremiah wept over Judah. “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” Jeremiah 9:1. Yet the Lord told Him to stop praying for their destruction was determined by Him. “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.” Jeremiah 7:16.

Think of Paul, Acts 13:9-12.

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