What Godly People Know – Psalm 92
by Pastor Lee Hemen
August 26, 2007 AM
There is a certainty and assurance that true Christians know and reflect in their lives. Others have noted the peace that believers display no matter what occurs in life. During the cold war a KGB agent for the Soviet Union had beaten nearly to death a young woman. He warned her never to be caught again. Her crime? Having a Bible study in her home and owning a Bible. She was caught again by the same agent. In disbelief he could not shake the peace that he saw in her face even after she was beaten to death by his squad. It haunted him from that day on. Later, he gave his life to Christ and had to escape Russia himself. How could that lovely young woman continue to praise God even after she was severely beaten and then later dying for her belief? In this worship Psalm we find out what Godly people know.
READ: Psalm 92
Why is it we are ready to give praise to those who really do not deserve it? Sports figures that gamble, cheat, or use drugs in order to better their careers, actors that exhibit lifestyles that are ungodly, or political figures that have lied to get into office. Yet, we find it difficult to take five minutes to praise the Creator? According to this Psalm, the believer should know that…
I. It is good to praise God! (vv. 1-5)
1. Christians should be about praising God! There is no greater thing the follower of Jesus can do than to praise the Lord. It should be something that lasts all day long. Literally from proclaiming God’s love in the morning to reminding oneself of His faithfulness as evening falls. Here we find the writer of this melody singing about the Lord’s “deeds… great works,” and “profound thoughts.” God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Paul, in quoting Isaiah would ask, “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” And from Paul’s own inquiry he would answer, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever!” (Romans 11:34-36) God is the one whom makes us “glad” and fills our hearts with “joy.” It is good to praise God!
EXAMPLE: A believer was once asked, “Do you feel that your sins are forgiven?” “No,” was the reply, “I do not always feel that they are forgiven, but I know they are, because God says so in His Word!” Paul did not say, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will feel that you are saved.” He said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Not all people “feel” that their sins are forgiven the moment they put their faith in Jesus Christ and receive the gift of salvation, but they are saved nonetheless. Catherine Booth, who with her husband William organized the Salvation Army, stressed the need for being content to walk by faith. In her final illness she talked to a friend about the difference between faith and sight. “One of the hardest lessons I've had to learn,” she said, “is to discern between faith and realization.” Catherine concluded, “All our enemies (including death) have to be conquered by faith, not by realization.” She was prepared to look at death with the assurance of her faith. He illness and fear did not dictate her faith. Catherine Booth willingly praised God with her life even as she faced her death. What a difference between her and what we recently have learned about Mother Teresa who wrote that she was continually uncertain about God’s existence and the certainty of her faith. Christians should be about praising God! It is good to praise God!
I find it extremely odd what people consider to be excellent in our day and age. We have seen cult films create an attitude whereby young people gain notoriety by acting stupid and doing extremely dangerous stunts that have left them maimed and disfigured for life. What many think as “excellent,” is in reality just insane. We find this to be true of those who irrationally decide not to give God praise. In fact we learn that…
II. The foolish do not know how to praise the Lord! (vv. 6-11)
1. A wise person knows whom to praise and when! The Teacher of Ecclesiastes asks, “Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man’s face and changes its hard appearance.” (Ecclesiastes 8:1) The Psalmist declares, “The senseless man does not know, fools do not understand, that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be forever destroyed.” What may seems excellent in the eyes of the ungodly, is nothing to praise. In fact, God is the only one who is “exalted forever.” His “enemies will perish” and “all evildoers will be scattered.” The idea here being one that these “foolish” unbelieving people will be separated from God and eternally severed from His presence! WOW! Ultimately the righteous will see the “defeat” of their “adversaries” and hear the “rout” of the “wicked foes.” It is God who will revenge those that praise Him. In the end, when all people are judged, the righteous will hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant!” but the fool will hear, “throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:21-30) The foolish do not know how to praise the Lord!
EXAMPLE: In the 1960s, certain theologians proclaimed, "God is dead." In their opinion, the progress of scientific knowledge had made it impossible for “thoughtful people” to believe in God. These "thinkers" said it was time to bury the idea of an almighty Creator in the graveyard of abandoned myths. But the God-is-dead theology has basically died out. British scholar and historian Paul Johnson comments, "From the perspective of human spirituality, the most extraordinary thing about the 20th century was the failure of God to die." In fact, most people agree there is a God: About 90% of the US population! John Calvin agreed with King David that we all have an inborn sense of deity. That's why anthropologists have never discovered a tribe of atheists! To kill off faith in God, it would be necessary to blot out the stars, turn the orderly processes of nature into chaos, and perform a lobotomy on every human being! How foolish it is to deny God! This is why the Psalmist would also declare, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 53:1). The foolish do not know how to praise the Lord!
The exact opposite is true for those who believe in Christ. Faith is the certainty of things “hoped for.” In other words you know it is true because you have trusted God with your life. It is not found in feelings, a “burning in the bosom,” or by how much money you make and give away. In fact, the godly know God loves them no matter the outward condition of their lives! We discover in this Psalm that…
III. The godly know they thrive when they praise God! (vv. 12-15)
1. Grass makes good cattle feed but poor building material! The song now contrasts the condition of the righteous with that of the fool. The wicked "spring as the grass", but “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.” Grass grows rapidly but certainly not a palm or a cedar! What a stark contrast between the transitory verge of the field and the nobility of the oasis or forest! “The palm standing erect, sending all its strength upward in one bold column, and growing amid the dearth and drought of the desert, we have a fine picture of the godly man, who in his uprightness aims alone at the glory of God; and, independent of outward circumstances, is made by divine grace to live and thrive where all things else perish.” – C. H. Spurgeon. The text tells us not only what the righteous is, but what he shall be when he praises God! In fact spiritually they will “still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.” The godly know they thrive when they praise God!
EXAMPLE: What a beautiful thing to see older folks who continue to praise God with all that they are. Their lives are not lived in past regret, but in the moment where they boldly declare, “They will be done!” More than 90 years of memories and faith are her legacy, but she's not ready to surrender. Her life is full of the physical pain that often accompanies old age, and even though she's too weak to walk anymore, Margaret is not done with her ministry. Despite her increasing feebleness, and despite her near deafness and inability to move around, Margaret has a ministry that reaches far beyond the walls of the nursing home where she lives. Every day--often for hours at a time--she sits in her chair with a stack of prayer cards and prays diligently for missionaries. And sometimes, when she can push her frail body to do so, she kneels beside her bed on creaky knees to talk with God. Margaret doesn't have much more than prayer to offer her Lord. She is the essence of the answer to the question in Psalm 116:12, "What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?" Verse 13 answers, "I will . . . call upon the name of the Lord." The godly know they thrive when they praise God!
It is good to praise God! The foolish do not know how to praise the Lord! The godly know they thrive when they praise God! Let me ask you, “Do you praise God?”