Depending upon which version of the bible you are reading, you will notice that when this psalm (and many others) refers to God, it is a specific word that is used. Most English texts use “the LORD” in a capitalized manner. The original text, when translated this way, is referring to the name Yahweh. This is the proper name used by the Jews to signify their God. It is not just a name, however, it is a reverent. This is important since the first verse of Psalm 92 calls praise to the name of the Most High God…aka Yahweh. Another “fun fact” about this psalm is that most translations will start this psalm with a description: a psalm, a song, for the Sabbath Day. In the original text, this was the first verse. In today’s manner of writing songs, we wouldn’t necessarily have a descriptive first line in this manner but it appears that when this Psalm was written, they at least did it occasionally. Ok…on to the text!
Given that this song was written for the Sabbath, we should pay special attention to that detail. The Sabbath is created for us to rest in God, connect with Him, and reflect on His goodness. Do you sabbath regularly? Do you take time to stop what you are doing and reflect upon all the good God has done for you and those you love? In our results-driven culture today we keep pushing to do more and more but never stop to thank the One who created everything! During our Sabbath, yes we are to praise and worship God. Usually we take this as a Sunday: we get all dressed up, we go to church (btw, church is something we live out, not go to), then have a barbecue in the back yard and call it a day. Do we sit and contemplate what God has done in our lives? Do we look at how He has provided for us, protected us, guided us, and more? If we do, then our singing and praises wouldn’t just be a prompted response from the worship team or an “amen” when the preacher says something profound. It would be a welling up of thankfulness as we recognize the awesome goodness of Yahweh. When we take the time to recognize what He has done and continues to do in our lives, we feel we have no choice but to praise Him!
Before finishing I would like to highlight a theme that runs through Psalm 92. There are hints of comparisons between the righteous and the evil being equated to various plants. The evil are compared to plants that take root, sprout up, and blossom quickly. Meanwhile, the righteous are compared to trees and plants that seemingly take centuries to grow! So in this, imagine grass seed and the seeds of a tree (the psalmist uses a date palm or cedar tree as reference). How fast will the grass sprout up? In just one season it can completely overtake a field. I’ve seen grass grow taller than me if left unattended! Yet, that see of the cedar or date palm might push out a couple leaves by then.
I mentioned the importance of taking time to appreciate all God has done for us, to rest in the Lord and appreciate the beauty of all that is around us in our lives. The grass sprouts up quickly, working as fast as possible to reach the sky only to be blown over my the wind, scorched by the sun, cut by the field worker, and thrown in the furnace. The cedar or date tree, however, takes its time and enjoys the process. To “humanize” it a little bit, I see the grass working hard to accomplish “whatever” and looking down at the “lazy” seedling. It scoffs, points fingers, and uses it as a reference, “well, at least I’m not as slow and lazy as that guy. I’m getting things done. Look how close I am to God!” The seedling simply nods its head and keeps its slow and steady pace. As the year passes, the grass withers away and may even sprout up again the next year, maybe even faster, thicker, and taller than the year before. Now the seedling has grown a bit more but the grass still sprouts faster and grows taller…only to be cut down again. The seedling, however, maintains hope because it knows what it will become. It sees the other trees around it and despite the slow progress, it continues growing, enjoying the process along the way and watching the frivolity of the grass.
Eventually, one season comes when the grass, try as it might, cannot quite reach the height or thickness of the seedling that, while still growing and learning how to be what it was designed to be, is closer to God than the grass. The tree eventually grows to maturity and although while mature still grows, is finally revealing the strength of its trunk (cedar) or the fruit of its patience (dates). The tree enjoys and trusts the process. It can only do so by resting in the Lord, and thus allowing God to shape and mold it to become what it was created to become. THIS is why the Sabbath is so important. This is why the psalmist wrote a song to be sung that gives praise to God for what He is doing (whatever that might be in our lives right now) and to reflect upon what He continues to do because He loves us.