Regaining Perspective: Psalm 92

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Psalm 92 (NIV)

It is good to praise the Lord
    and make music to your name, O Most High,
proclaiming your love in the morning
    and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
    and the melody of the harp.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
    I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
How great are your works, Lord,
    how profound your thoughts!
Senseless people do not know,
    fools do not understand,
that though the wicked spring up like grass
    and all evildoers flourish,
    they will be destroyed forever.

But you, Lord, are forever exalted.

For surely your enemies, Lord,
    surely your enemies will perish;
    all evildoers will be scattered.
10 You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox;
    fine oils have been poured on me.
11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries;
    my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
    they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the Lord,
    they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
    they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
    he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

Sing this psalm with the Seedbed Psalter today! Visit the resource here.

CONSIDER THIS

This psalm, like Psalm 90, is a song about regaining perspective. Psalm 92 was written for the Sabbath, which was established as a means of grace whereby we receive a weekly gift from God enabling us to pause, reflect, and regain perspective. The psalm begins by expressing how good it is to “praise the Lord and make music to [his] name” (v. 1). The psalmist reflects on the profound thoughts of God, which are revealed in his Word. This lifts him (and us) up to a higher place so we can see things better. This is one of the powerful features of God’s Word. It cuts right through all the chatter of this age and every cultural wind that blows and puts us right back on solid ground.

What the psalmist sees is that though, in the present, the “evildoers flourish” they will, in the end, “be forever destroyed” (v. 7). He sees the enemies of God perishing and his adversaries in defeat (vv. 9, 11). Even now, his ears hear the rout of his foes (v. 11). In contrast, he sees the righteous flourishing “like a palm tree” and growing like a “cedar of Lebanon,” flourishing and bearing fruit in old age (vv. 12–14). As Christians we understand that there is a big difference between how things seem in the present and how they look when we take the long view, glimpsing God’s final verdict on human history, his final vindication of his church, and his final judgment on those who stand in opposition to him. The seeds for this perspective are already well in place in the context of the Jewish Sabbath (and the psalms sung on that day). The Sabbath is the day when we cease from our normal activities so we can, once again, reflect on God’s purposes in the world, and what the world was meant to be like before it was marred and broken by sin.

This psalm, like so many in the Psalter, is about the two ways: the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. Like Psalm 1, this psalm shows us the final end of each path: “My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes. The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord” (vv. 11–13). Jesus extends the insight of Psalm 92 even more vividly in the Sermon on the Mount, where he refers to the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. The wicked are on the broad “road that leads to destruction” whereas the righteous are on the narrow “road that leads to life” (Matt. 7:13–14).

When you are journeying in the middle of daily life, sometimes the paths can seem all twisted and confusing and you can easily get discouraged and lose your sense of direction. Psalm 92 lifts us up, letting us see the big picture and the final end.

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Timothy C. Tennent is the President of Asbury Theological Seminary and a Professor of Global Christianity. His works include Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century and Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church Is Influencing the Way We Think about and Discuss Theology. He blogs at timothytennent.com and can be followed on twitter @TimTennent.

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