How can we be RICHLY FULFILLED in our lives? "For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment." (Psalms 66:10-12)
Psalms 66 is one of the hymns whose author is not specified, but the Bible scholars ascribe this psalm to King David judging by the style and the fact that house of God is mentioned (v. 13). The initial verses (vv. 1-4) calls upon all nations to praise God, while the next set of verses (vv. 5-7) invites us to "come and see" the works of the Lord, pointing attention to the Israelites crossing the Red Sea or even crossing the Jordan river. Towards the later part of the psalms (vv. 13-15) the psalmist becomes personal and confesses his own obligations to God. Finally, the psalmist bursts out with a repeated "come and hear" as he declares with thanksgiving the special favor of the Lord to himself (vv. 16-20).
Between the passage of telling others to worship God (v. 1-9) and telling himself what he needs to do (vv. 13-20), we read in verses 10-12 what the psalmist is telling God. Like someone describing his past looking at the rearview mirror, the psalmist is telling God how He has tested him to refine him as silver is refined with the objective to remove all the impurities. Malachi 3:3 describes God as someone who "shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction." (Isaiah 48:10)
The psalmist then describes to God how He has allowed him to be entrapped in the net that the enemy has laid (v. 11a), brought stressful burdens into his life (v. 11b), and caused others to ride over his head (v. 12a). This is an allusion to beasts of burden, particularly to camels, whose heads the rider almost sits over, and so domineers over them as he pleases. Finally the psalmist says that he went through fire and water (v. 12b). Fire is the extremity of heat and dryness; water is the extremity of moistness and coldness. This means that God allowed the psalmist to go through extreme situations. However, God was with him during his affliction as His word describes in Isaiah 43:2-3: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…"
The end result was that the psalmist found ‘rich fulfillment’ in the process. Let us also remember that when God allows us to go through trials the end result is that God wants us to be richly fulfilled in our lives.
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love." (1 Peter 1:6-8)