A Psalm. A Song for the Sabbath.
1 It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
2 to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
3 to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
4 For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
5 How great are your works, O Lord!
Your thoughts are very deep!
6 The stupid man cannot know;
the fool cannot understand this:
7 that though the wicked sprout like grass
and all evildoers flourish,
they are doomed to destruction forever;
8 but you, O Lord, are on high forever.
9 For behold, your enemies, O Lord,
for behold, your enemies shall perish;
all evildoers shall be scattered.
10 But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox;
you have poured over me fresh oil.
11 My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;
my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.
12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
15 to declare that the Lord is upright;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
Thankfulness: The Only Reasonable Attitude
Jesus entered my life in a saving way in 1971, around the time of my 18th birthday. He has been helping me, guiding me, correcting me, teaching me and providing for my family and me for 45 years now. I now see that one reason the Psalms are ever fresh is that time and experience with the Lord gives us fresh perspective each time we meditate upon them. Over the last four decades, many incidents, large and small, have tempted me to resentment, and I have too often succumbed. Gradually, though, as I have seen God working “all things … together for good” (Rom 8.28), as I have seen His unwavering faithfulness in His care for us, and as I have compared my troubles with what Jesus endured, I have become increasingly able to let go of resentments and instead give thanks to the Lord in my moments of disappointment. There is a time to mourn (Ecc 3.4), but when I look at the big picture of what God has done, is doing, and will do, I must concur with the words of Psa 92, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord.” In fact, it is the only truly reasonable thing to do, whether in times of success or in times of loss, as Job understood so well (Job 1.21).
God’s Great Works And Deep Thoughts
Speaking of Job, he and his judgmental friends discussed at length the counter-intuitive fact that “evildoers flourish” (Psa 92.7). Job tried to help his friends see that if flourishing doesn’t prove righteousness, neither does calamity prove wickedness. The story of Job illustrates how deep God’s thoughts are (Psa 92.5). God is working a very deep plan! “The fool cannot understand this” (Psa 92.7), but the wise can take comfort in the fact that very soon God’s “enemies shall perish” (Psa 92.9). In other words, our just and merciful God will set all things right in His time — so, again, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord …”
The Righteous Flourish With Meaning And Purpose
Especially since we already taste God’s goodness! Compared to 80% of the world’s population, all of us here in the U. S. “flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon” (Psa 92.12)! But, for those of us who know Jesus, our flourishing is more than material because we “are planted in the house of the Lord,” and we “flourish in the courts of our God” (Psa 92.13). In other words, we are flourishing spiritually, even if we endure occasional setbacks in our temporal circumstances. What does it mean to “flourish in the courts of our God”? It means to have a worshipful life that is full of meaning and purpose, and therefore a life that is fruitful, even in old age (Psa 92.14). As my 63rd birthday looms, I am so grateful to be living a fruitful life. “It is good to give thanks to the Lord”!
A Prayer Of Worshipful Thanks
“You, O Lord, have made me glad,” not only by the blessings of today, but by your unwavering faithfulness through my lifetime. “How great are your works” on my behalf, O Lord! The more I learn of Your ways, I see that “Your thoughts are very deep!” I look back through the years and realize now that you have used even my failures and disappointments to make me “flourish in the courts of our God,” and to prepare me to “bear fruit in old age.” I confess that You, Lord, are upright; You are “my rock,” and “there is no unrighteousness” in You. I gladly give you thanks, in Jesus’ name.