Psalm 92: a song for ‘the Sabbath generation’

Psalm 92:0 

            Its setting

This psalm follows in sequence from Psalm 91 by using God’s rarely occurring name ‘the Most High’ (Psalm 92:1; 91:1, 9). And it follows thematically from Psalm 90 with its reference to God’s work (Psalm 92:4,5; 90:16).

Its structure

After God had completed his work in the original creation week he ‘saw everything he had made, and behold, it was very good(Genesis 1:31). ‘And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation’ (Psalm 92:3:2-3). That reads to Western minds as ‘over-egging the pudding’. But when we see how often the later prophets repeatedly told the people of Israel that Sabbath-breaking was a major reason for the many judgements that befell them, we read Hebrews 3:0; and 4:0 (concerning our rest in Christ through his finished work on the cross) with greater seriousness.

We can also appreciate why this song for the Sabbath day begins: ‘It is good to give thanks to the Lord’ (Psalm 92:1).

[] Verses Psalm 92:1-4 constitute the first stanza of the song, telling of the appropriate response when our weekly work is done – ‘to sing praises’ with musical accompaniment in appreciation of his character (1, ‘name’), especially his ‘steadfast love’ and ‘faithfulness’. ‘For’ (Psalm 92:4, = ‘because’) thereby ‘you …  have made me glad’. 

[] Verses Psalm 92:5-15 So we express appreciation of ‘your work, O Lord’ (Psalm 92:5). Although ‘evildoers flourish’ like weeds (Psalm 92:6-8), they will be overthrown because of the anointing on God’s people (Psalm 92:9-11). And ‘the righteous flourish like the palm tree and … cedar … in the courts of the Lord’ (Psalm 92:12-15).

In summary

[] Who will flourish? – ‘the righteous’ (Psalm 92:12).

[] How will they flourish? – ‘like the palm tree’ of desert fame, and ‘like a cedar in [the mountains of] Lebanon’ (Psalm 92:12) – that is to say, in any circumstances.

[] Where will they flourish? – ‘in the house of the Lord’ (Psalm 92:13) which, since Pentecost, is the living community of God’s heaven-born people.

[] When will they flourish? – all their life long, for ‘they still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green’ (Psalm 92:14).

[] Why do they flourish? – ‘to declare that the Lord is upright … and there is no unrighteousness in him’ (Psalm 92:15).

This entry was posted in Misunderstood Bible Texts. Bookmark the permalink.