ead Psalm 92:1-15
Many of us experience the realities of the first four verses of this psalm. Every Sunday, in three different venues at Grace Church we unite our hearts and voices in giving thanks to the Lord. With gladness and joy, we declare God’s love and faithfulness. Although the band doesn’t include a ten-stringed lute, a harp, or a lyre, instruments accompany us in the resounding music that exalts the Most High God.
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, 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!