Read Psalm 92:1-15
We often experience the realities of the first four verses of this psalm. Just a few days ago, many from Grace Church enjoyed a moving “Night of Worship.” We united our hearts and voices in giving thanks to the Lord. With gladness and joy, we declared God’s love and faithfulness. Although the band did not include a ten-stringed lute, a harp, or a lyre, instruments accompanied us in the resounding music that exalted the Most High God. Of course, the experiences of that evening were not the only expressions of corporate worship our church enjoys. Every Sunday, we join together in five different services in two different venues.
But the latter portion of this psalm is not something that we tend to highlight in worship. I am not suggesting that we have been negligent in failing to do so. These verses do, however, remind us of still other reasons to lift God up. In short, the psalmist praises God for punishing the wicked and for blessing the upright.
Is it right to be thankful that God punishes the wicked? There is a theological tension there, isn’t there? The New Testament tells us to love and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44). We are to bless our enemies (Rom. 5:14). We should yearn for their salvation (Phil. 1:12-20). At the same time, we must recognize that God is just. He does not leave the guilty unpunished (Ex. 34:7) and brings vengeance on those who do wrong (Rom. 12:19). We worship a just God. Sometimes, as with the psalmist, our longing for His justice is very real and personal (Ps. 92:11).
Meanwhile, the author is clear in pointing out that the righteous flourish (v. 12). There are two important cautions that we must keep in mind when we read those words. First, we must remember that our righteousness is not a product of our performance (Eph. 2:8, 9). Instead, rightstanding with God is ascribed to us as a result of His grace as we place faith in the finished work of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). The second caution comes as we remind ourselves that “flourishing” should not be measured by a snapshot of life. At any point in time, we may suffer and struggle. And yet, the final outcome is one of eternal blessing.
Indeed, these are truths that inspire us to worship a great God!