Sunday, October 7, 2012

Psalm 92 – By Thankfulness, Worship

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night.”    
— Psalm 92:1-2 (NRSV)    
Of all the dark words we relate with in the Bible, those that speak to us and identify with our struggles and local torment, there are just as many, if not more, beautifully thankful passages that read like treacle down the visitor’s throat. Psalm 92 is such a passage—a Psalm of thanksgiving of the individual.
It is a song for the Sabbath day.
Expressing Thanks
With the first four verses, the psalmist rehearses in private what may later be practiced in public, complete with instruments converting such praise for thankfulness into expressions of song.
Their thanks are a gratitude invoked by Divine work that has made for the experience of sincere gladness; for the works of God’s hands have brought joy.
Such times we have all had. As, upon reflection, we have noted the faithfulness of the Lord as those works within life have esteemed themselves for our blessing. Such blessings, no matter how much we reflect on them, never diminish; we never quite get used to the benefit we extract from them.
But, still, we may forget all-too-soon to consider these great gifts from God.
Praising God For The Six Days
As a Sabbath Psalm we can just imagine the psalmist sitting leant by a palm tree, under the cooling breezy shade, lost in reflective musing, for the work of creation—and the outworking of that creative process within his or her personal life; as far as their eyes can see.
What a wonderful image that is!
The Lord created the heavens and earth over six days, and then rested. We, too, were commanded to rest from our work, but that rest is no legalistic one-set-day rest that was originally commanded. No, we are freed to enjoy our creative work out of the process of rest—yes, we rest first and out of that rest we create; for the blessing of God.
Sabbath Reflection – Noting The Process Toward Perfection
Spiritual perfection is both a much-vaunted and a misunderstood concept. What we strive for we shall never attain this side of eternity.
Striving for perfection is more about growth.
In verses 12-15, the psalmist completes the Psalm by suggesting the imagery of that palm tree—together with another image; the mighty cedar of Lebanon—alludes to the spiritual growth of the righteous (though contemporarily we somehow don’t like the word) in the courts of God.
Where we are able to mimic the faithfulness of the Lord in our going out and coming in we stand to produce good fruit via the future works of our God-sponsored hands; we will be evergreen and full of healthy sap, good for loving deeds evoking peace and joy.
Sabbath is a time for reflecting over one’s work, and the faithfulness of God toward all ends. It’s a time when we review progress and thank God for any growth gained. And by thankfulness we worship. And
© 2011, 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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