A Psalm [or] Song for the sabbath day.
Psalm 92: This is one of the few psalms with a liturgical superscription. Its specific connection with the Sabbath day is not explained, but it probably lies in its picture of the wicked vanquished (verses 4-9), and the righteous exalted (verses 10-15), a harbinger of an eternal Sabbath rest (Heb. 4:9-11). The introduction is a call to praise the Lord, both morning and evening (verses 1-3).
Verses 1-15: This psalm expresses the exuberance of the psalmist as he recognizes that God is merciful in salvation, great in His works of creation, just in His dealings with the wicked, and faithful in prospering His children.
I. An Expression of Theistic Optimism (92:1-5).
II. An Observation Concerning Righteous Sovereignty (92:6-9).
III. A Testimony to God’s Goodness (92:10-15).
Title: “For the Sabbath day”: In the post-Exilic community, some psalms were sung throughout the week in connection with the morning and evening sacrifice; others were designated especially for Sabbath worship.
Verses 1-6: It is a privilege that we are admitted to praise the Lord, and hope to be accepted in the morning, and every night. Not only on Sabbath days, but every day; not only in public, but in private, and in our families. Let us give thanks every morning for the mercies of the night, and every night for the mercies of the day; going out, and coming in, let us bless God. As He makes us glad, through the works of his providence for us, and of his grace in us, and both through the great work of redemption, let us hence be encouraged. As there are many who know not the designs of Providence, nor care to know them. Those who through grace do so, have the more reason to be thankful. And if distant views of the great Deliverer so animated believers of old, how should we abound in love and praise!
Psalm 92:1 “[It is a] good [thing] to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:”
God’s people offer “thanks” to Him for what He has given them. The word implies verbal, public acknowledgment of God’s goodness (107:21-22; Col. 3:17; 1 Thess. 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:12; Philem. verse 4).
We have mentioned before that it was their custom to sing all the way to the temple, and then sing also in the temple. This 92nd Psalm was sung on the Sabbath by the Jews. Some believe that this Psalm was written by Adam, but I believe along with most scholars of the Bible, that this was written by David. As we said before, it really doesn’t matter who penned this. The message is what we must concentrate on. Many churches today sing this Psalm in their services. LORD is Jehovah. We have discussed many times, that the easiest way to feel the presence of the LORD, is to praise Him. He inhabits the praises of His people. This is really not an obligation, but is like a freewill offering. It is such a little thing to praise God, for all the blessings He has bestowed upon us. There are a number of ways to praise Him, and they are all good. I really enjoy singing praises to God. You can just get lost in praise and worship of God singing the praises. Prayer, of course, is another way to praise Him. Some lift their hands toward heaven with palms lifted up and praise Him. One of the really beautiful ways to praise Him, is to testify aloud of His goodness and majesty. Share something really wonderful He has done. He loves all of these ways.
Psalm 92:2 “To show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,”
“Lovingkindness … faithfulness”: These attributes are constant themes of the psalm (see notes of Psalms 85:7; 89:5; see also Luke 10:2).
I have found that one of the very best times to sing praises, talk to God, or pray is very early in the morning before all the other members of the family get up. Of course, every day should end with praises for the Lord seeing us through the day. We really should have a prayer in our heart all the time. There is never a wrong time to pray.
Psalm 92:3 “Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.”
A harp of ten strings, as the Targum. The harp invented by Terpander had only seven strings; according to Pliny. Simonides added the eighth, and Timotheus the ninth; but this of David was of ten strings.
“And upon the psaltery”: Of which See note on (Psalm 33:2). “Upon the harp with a solemn sound”; or “upon higgaon with the harp”; which Aben Ezra says, was either the tune of a song, or an instrument of music. All these instruments of music were typical of the spiritual joy and melody which the saints have in their hearts when they praise the Lord. Hence mention is made of harps in particular in this spiritual sense, under the Gospel dispensation (Rev. 5:8).
Since there will be harps in heaven, I would think we should get practiced here. No instrument is evil in and of itself. It is the use of the instrument that can either be evil or good. An instrument is just a tool for our use. What we use it for determines what type of person we really are. Instruments can be used to set a mood. Notice in the verse above, it was to be solemn.
Psalm 92:4 “For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.”
Either of creation, which work is mentioned in the precept of the sabbath, as an argument for it; and therefore, a very proper work to be remembered and observed on that day. Or of providence, which in general extends to all men, but especially to them that believe. Or of the work of redemption wrought out by Christ, which is cause of great joy and gladness. Or of the work of grace upon the soul, which when a man is satisfied of, gives him infinite pleasure, as knowing it will be performed until the day of Christ. And when a man is in such a joyful frame of spirit, he is in a very suitable one to sing the praises of God (James 5:13).
“I will triumph in the works of thine hands”: Those before mentioned. Or shout aloud for joy, on account of them; and also triumph over all enemies, as being out of the reach of them, so as to be hurt and ruined by them.
We mentioned in a previous lesson, that there is no end to the wonderful works of the Lord. He is the Creator of everything and everyone. To look at the beautiful mountains, the sunset, the rivers and streams are enough to make you shout for joy. The wonderful thing is that God created this earth, and all that it holds for man to use. The greatest work, that is beyond compare, is the 6 hours that Jesus worked on the cross and bought our salvation for us. When I think of all He has done for us, I cry tears of joy that He loved us enough to do this for us. God did not need the earth. He already existed before there was an earth. He made the earth for the habitation of man.
Hebrews 2:6 ” But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visitest him?”
The answer is someone to fellowship with God.
Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
Psalm 92:5 “O LORD, how great are thy works! [and] thy thoughts are very deep.”
Of nature, providence, and grace. Both for quantity and for quality, for number, excellency, and glory, as they are a display of God’s wisdom, power, and goodness (see Psalm 104:24).
“And thy thoughts are very deep”: His counsels, purposes, and designs, they are unfathomable and unsearchable (see 1 Cor. 2:10).
When someone gets too proud of himself, just ask him has he created any worlds lately? The thoughts of God are so deep that we will never really understand Him fully, until we stand before Him in heaven. Even the Bible (God’s Word), is never fully understood. Each time we study it, we learn more, and we will still be learning more when the trumpet blows.
Psalm 92:6 “A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.”
The lovingkindness of the Lord, and his faithfulness, nor how to show them forth, nor his great works and deep thoughts. Man was made originally far above the brute creatures, and had them all under his dominion. But, sinning, became like the beasts that perish. And is in Scripture often compared to one or other of them, as the horse, ass, etc. A brutish man is one that only knows things naturally, as brute beasts do, and in which also he corrupts himself. He is governed by sense, and not by reason, and much less by faith, which he has not. One that indulges his sensual appetite, whose god is his belly, and minds nothing but earth and earthly things. And, though he has an immortal soul, has no more care of it, and concern about it, than a beast that has none. He lives like one, without fear or shame. And in some things acts below them, and at last dies, as they do, without any thought of, or regard unto, a future state.
“Neither doth a fool understand this; what is before said, or else what follows in the next verse, as Jarchi and others interpret it, concerning the end and event of the prosperity of the wicked. Arama interprets it of the Gentiles not knowing this law of the land, the Sabbath, and so rejected it: a “fool” is the same with the “brutish” man, one that is so, not in things natural and civil, but in things moral, spiritual, and religious.
A brutish man, if he read the Bible, would be reading it with a carnal mind. He would not understand it at all, because it is spiritually discerned. A fool really has no desire to learn. He is unteachable.
Verses 7-15: God sometimes grants prosperity to wicked men in displeasure; yet they flourish but for a moment. Let us seek for ourselves the salvation and grace of the gospel, that being daily anointed by the Holy Spirit, we may behold and share the Redeemer’s glory. It is from his grace, by his word and Spirit, that believers receive all the virtue that keeps them alive, and makes them fruitful. Other trees, when old, leave off bearing, but in God’s trees the strength of grace does not fail with the strength of nature. The last days of the saints are sometimes their best days, and their last work their best work: perseverance is sure evidence of sincerity. And may every Sabbath, while it shows forth the Divine faithfulness, find our souls resting more and more upon the Lord our righteousness.
Psalm 92:7 “When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; [it is] that they shall be destroyed for ever:”
Out of the earth, as they do, and are of the earth earthly, and become numerous as spires of grass, and look pleasant and beautiful for a while, as that does. But, like it, weak and unstable, and of a short continuance.
“And when all the workers of iniquity do flourish”: In the health of their bodies; not being afflicted as other men, and their eyes standing out with fatness. While someone like a Job, an upright man, is smitten with boils from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot. In wealth and riches, in which they increase often to such a degree, as to think of pulling down their barns, and building greater, to put their substance in; in their progeny and offspring. Having a numerous issue; as well as in their cattle, and the standing of them, and in other stores. Likewise, in their power and authority, grandeur and glory, being set in high places of honor and profit, though slippery ones. These are the godly, who are “wicked” at heart, and show it by their wicked works. Who are continually committing sin, it is the course of their conversation, and yet prosper in the world. Which is sometimes a stumbling block to God’s people, and a hardening of sinners, who consider not that.
“It is that they shall be destroyed for ever”: They are like brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed. And as lambs and other creatures are nourished and fattened for the day of slaughter (2 Peter 2:12). And as land is manured and cultivated, and grass springs up and flourishes, that it may be, when grown, cut down, and become the fodder of beasts, or the fuel of fire. So the prosperity of the wicked issues in their ruin, and is an aggravation of their damnation. Their destruction is of soul and body in hell, and is an everlasting one. The Targum is, “and it shall be that God shall destroy them for ever.”
It seems as if this is describing the day that we live in. There are millions and millions of people who are just living day to day with no thought for tomorrow. This is the same thing that happened in Noah’s time.
Genesis 6:1 “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,”
Genesis 6:5-6 “And God saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.” “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”
I do not need to tell you that all of these evil people were destroyed in the flood and only Noah and his family were saved. God will not put up with this type of sin, He will destroy them forever.
Psalm 92:8 “But thou, LORD, [art most] high for evermore.”
God is “the Most High”; that is one of his names. He is above all, is higher than the highest. And he dwells on high, and looks down upon the inhabitants of the earth, and sees what they are doing. And to him they will be accountable another day for what they do. And when wicked men perish, being destroyed, he will continue forever in all his greatness, glory, and majesty. For there seems to be an antithesis in this verse to the former, or between wicked men and the Lord. And besides, he endures forever to inflict punishment upon them; and therefore, it is that they shall be destroyed forever.
The psalmist pauses a moment here, to expound on the greatness of God. God is God forevermore.
Psalm 92:9 ” For, lo, thine enemies, O LORD, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.”
The particle “lo”, or “for lo”, is not used for the sake of God, but for the sake of men. To excite their attention, and to observe unto them that those who are everlastingly destroyed are the enemies of the Lord; who are enemies in their minds by wicked works, yea, enmity itself against God. And therefore, their perdition is just as well as certain. Sooner or later these shall be brought forth and slain before him; and for the certainty of it is repeated.
“For, lo, thine enemies shall perish”: The Targum adds, in the world to come: “all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered”; one from another, and not be able to unite and combine together against the saints, as they have done. Or they shall be separated from them at the last day, being placed at Christ’s left hand. And shall not stand in judgment, nor in the congregation of the righteous. And so the Targum, “and all the workers of iniquity shall be separated from the congregation of the righteous” (see Psalm 1:5).
As this is spoken twice, we see a confirmation. The enemies of God shall surely perish. The enemies of God are bound for an eternity in hell.
Psalm 92:10 “But my horn shalt thou exalt like [the horn of] a unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.”
“My horn” (see note on Psalm 75:4).
“Anointed with fresh oil”: This figure is based on a practice of making an animal’s horns gleam by rubbing oil on them. Thus God, in effect, had invigorated the psalmist (compare Psalms 23:5; 133:2).
This is in direct contrast to the enemies of God. The unicorn symbolized power that was so great it could not be conquered. He is saying, his strength will be so great that the enemy will not be able to defeat him. This anointing with fresh oil means, that he will be filled with God’s Spirit over and over, and that grace and mercy of God shall abound toward him so much that he cannot be defeated.
Psalm 92:11 “Mine eye also shall see [my desire] on mine enemies, [and] mine ears shall hear [my desire] of the wicked that rise up against me.”
“Mine eye … on mine enemies”: God gratified the psalmist’s desire by bringing his enemies to ruin.
This is just saying to me, that he is leaving his enemies in the hands of the Lord to do with as He sees fit. He may see and hear their punishment, but I do not believe he is trying to tell God what that punishment should be.
Verses 12-15: The image of the righteous as a fruitful tree echoes (1:3), and foreshadows the use of the image by Jesus (Matt. 3:10); John (chapter 15), and Paul (Rom. 7:4-6; Gal. 5:22-23).
Psalm 92:12 “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”
“Flourish like the palm tree”: The palm tree and the cedar symbolized permanence and strength (compare verse 14). They are in contrast to the transience of the wicked, who are pictured as temporary as grass (verse 7; see notes on Psalm 1).
We see a great contrast here to the wicked, who were spoken of as grass. The palm tree lives to be a very old tree. The cedar in Lebanon was a very strong and beautiful tree. These trees have strong roots and live a very long time not easily destroyed by the winds.
Psalm 92:13 “Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.”
“Planted in the house of the LORD”: A tree planted in the courtyard of the temple symbolized the thriving conditions of those who maintain a close relationship with the Lord (see note on Psalm 52:8).
This is just speaking of being grounded and rooted in the Lord. Christians, who spend their time in the presence of God, shall grow mightily and produce much fruit.
Psalm 92:14 “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;”
Being thus planted and watered, they shall not only bring forth the fruits of righteousness, but shall continue, and go on to do so, and even when they are grown old. Contrary to all other trees, which, when old, cease bearing fruit. But so do not the righteous; grace is often in the greatest vigor when nature is decayed. Witness Abraham, Job, David, Zachariah, and Elisabeth, and good old Simeon, who went to the grave like shocks of corn, fully ripe.
“They shall be fat and flourishing; or “green”, full of sap and moisture, abounding with green leaves and precious fruit. Or, in other words, abound in grace, and be fruitful in every good work. Being engrafted into the true olive tree, the church of God, they partake of the root and fatness of it. Having a place in the house of the Lord, they are satisfied with the goodness and fatness thereof, and are made to drink of the river of divine pleasure. And being in the courts of the Lord, where a feast of fat things is provided for them, they eat and feed, and so thrive and flourish. The allusion is to fat and flourishing palm trees.
What is old age anyhow? The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows. The one thing that age has going for it, is the wisdom of many years with the Lord. God does not ever feel we are too old to do a job He has for us, or He would not have called Moses when he was 80 years old. Sometimes youth does not stay with their call, because the call of the world is great in their life. As long as you can speak, you can win souls for the harvest.
Psalm 92:15 “To show that the LORD [is] upright: [he is] my rock, and [there is] no unrighteousness in him.”
Or righteous, that is, faithful. As he is in his counsels, covenant, and promises, which he makes good by causing his people to grow and flourish, and become fruitful. By carrying on the work of grace upon their souls, and by preserving them to the end safe to his kingdom and glory. By all which it appears that he does not and will not suffer his faithfulness to fail. The Targum is, “that the inhabitants of the earth may show”, etc.
“He is my Rock”: The psalmist sets his seal to the truth of God’s faithfulness, firmness, and constancy. Calling him a Rock for his strength and stability, and claiming his interest in him; declaring he found him to be so by experience. Even the Rock whose work is perfect; who always completes what he undertakes, and finishes what he begins, and will not forsake the work of his own hands. Just and right is he; the Rock of ages, that remains firm, steadfast, and unalterable in all generations.
“And there is no unrighteousness in him”: As not in his sovereign acts of grace, so neither in his providential dispensations, either towards good men or bad men. Not in suffering the wicked to prosper (as in Psalm 92:7), and the righteous to be afflicted. Nor in punishing bad men here, or hereafter. Nor in justifying sinners by the righteousness of his Son, and giving them the crown of righteousness at the last day. All his proceedings are in the most just and equitable manner (see Romans 9:14).
No one knows as well as the aged about all the wonderful blessings through the years that God has brought. God is upright. He never fails us. He is the Rock of our salvation. He is called Jesus Christ the righteous.
Psalm 92 Questions
- When was the 92nd Psalm sung?
- Who do some believe wrote this Psalm?
- Who does the author believe wrote this Psalm?
- What is the word LORD here?
- How is the easiest way to feel the presence of the Lord?
- Why is this true?
- How are some of the ways we praise Him?
- When was His lovingkindness shown forth?
- When is the wrong time to pray?
- What are some of the instruments, to praise the Lord on, mentioned in verse 3?
- What makes an instrument evil?
- How was the harp to be heard in verse 3?
- What are some of the works of the Lord?
- What does the author believe to be His greatest work?
- Why was all of this created by God?
- A __________ man knoweth not.
- Why would the brutish man not understand the Bible?
- The wicked spring as the ________.
- What does the 6th chapter of Genesis teach us about the evil populating the earth?
- What grieved God in His heart?
- In verse 9, why was the message repeated?
- What did the unicorn symbolize?
- What did he mean by being anointed with fresh oil?
- The righteous shall flourish like the ______ ______.
- What do the palm tree and the cedar of Lebanon have in common?
- Verse 14 says, they will do what in old age?
- Who was 80 years old when God called him to the ministry?
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