Wednesday, July 27, 2022

A Lesson in Spiritual Botany (Psalm 92)

Psalm 92:1–5 No one can deny the fact that it is downright good to give thanks to the LORD. It is good in the sense that the Lord deserves such gratitude, and it is good also for the one who offers the thanks and for those who hear it. To sing praises to the name of the Most High is about as appropriate an activity as anyone can engage in. And there is no lack of subject matter for praise. His loving kindness is an unending theme for the morning and His faithfulness is sufficient to occupy the nighttime hours—and then some. Enhance the beauty of the song with an instrument of ten strings, the lute, and the harp, and with harmonious sound. No amount of sweet music is enough to praise the Lord for His wonderful works of creation, providence, and redemption. Just to think of all He has done makes the heart sing with joy. The marvelous, intricate plans of God, His deep designs and wise plans add fuel to the flame of praise.

Psalm 92:6–9 But don’t expect the natural man to understand the deep things of God. He can’t understand them, “because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). As far as divine realities are concerned, he is dull and stupid though he may be an intellectual giant as far as the world is concerned. He never comes to grip with the fact that fixed moral laws in the universe prescribe destruction for the wicked. Though he may seem to prosper for a while, still his success is as short-lived as grass. Just as sure as the LORD is enthroned forevermore, so surely will His enemies be scattered and perish.

Psalm 92:10-11 The other side of the coin is that God exalts the horn of the righteous like that of the wild ox, that is, He gives strength and honor to His people. And He anoints the faithful ones with fresh oil, which typifies the gracious ministry of the Holy Spirit. When the last chapter is written, the saints of God will have witnessed the demise of their enemies, and will have heard the long, low wail of their doom.

Psalm 92:12–15 The prosperity of the righteous is comparable to that of a palm tree and a cedar of Lebanon. The palm tree symbolizes beauty and fruitfulness while the cedar is an emblem of strength and permanence. The reason for the luxuriant growth of believers is that they are planted in the house of the LORD and flourish in the courts of our God. In other words, they live in daily fellowship with the Lord, drawing their strength and sustenance from Him. Age does not impair their fruit-bearing capabilities. They continue to pulsate with vigorous spiritual life (the sap) and their testimony remains ever green. Their prosperity is an evidence that the LORD is upright in fulfilling His promises. He is the dependable rock, and there is nothing unreliable about Him.

The wicked are compared to grass (v. 7), the righteous to an evergreen (v. 14). The wicked wither and fade away, but the righteous go on from strength to strength. This is the order in spiritual botany.

The psalmist exalts God’s goodness and faithfulness. He is not separating the two by designating their celebration to morning and evening, but he is indicating that God has sufficient glory to captivate our attention throughout the day.