The second major part of Psalm 66 is verses 13-20. Whereas the psalmist has been speaking in the first person plural ("we," "us," "our") in verses 5-12 [following the Introduction in verses 1-4], now she or he speaks in the first person singular ("I," "me," "my"). Verses 13-15 contain a prayer addressed to Yahweh:
"I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
I will pay you my vows,
those that my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
I will offer to you burnt offerings of fatlings,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats."
1. The composer of Psalm 66 does not specify the "trouble" he or she endured (verse 14). It was clearly overwhelming and much more than the psalmist could possibly handle without God's help. Often, people (even God's people) do not realize how dependent they are on God until "trouble" comes.
2. The psalmist promised Yahweh that she or he would offer Yahweh certain sacrifices if Yahweh would deliver him or her from this "trouble." Yahweh responded with deliverance, and now the psalmist goes to "the house of God" (the temple) to offer these sacrifices. This is not a situation in which a person "made a deal with" God, but a genuine expression of dependence on God and thanksgiving or gratitude for God's deliverance.
3. No human gift (vows, sacrifices, prayers, service, worship, etc.) in and of itself is acceptable to God unless it comes from the heart and is a genuine expression of gratitude to God for all his blessings and gifts (see especially Psalms 50:7-15; 51:15-19). One does not "earn" God's favor by performing any human act of obedience or service (see Ephesians 2:8-10). The song: "Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling," captures this thought beautifully.