Monday, November 29, 2010

It Is Good to Give Guest Blogger, Bro. Jon Rushing

“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;” (Psalm 92:1 ESV)

Thanksgiving can be, as with most holidays in the U.S., a season of very meaningful, God-centered worship, or a season of people-centered sentimentality. I guess I am overly sensitive to this because I am charged (alongside Brother Chad) with leading Trinity to worship Christ corporately, week in and week out. So, when I came across Psalm 92 this week, the Spirit really let me see how this psalm helps us worship through giving thanks.

First, right out of the shoot, the psalmist tells us that this hymn is for our gathered worship times. The heading calls it, “A Song For The Sabbath.” So this is for us, not just for me, as an individual. He wastes no time beating around the bush, but reminds us next, that it is a wonderful thing to “give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises.” (vs. 1)

Then, in vs. 2-3, he gives us some specifics on how this can be accomplished.

“To declare Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.”

It is God’s “steadfast love” (His character) and His “faithfulness” (His actions) that are declared as reasons to worship God. Also, note that this corporate thanksgiving praise takes place in the morning and at night. Now, I would never try to use this as a proof text saying we should always have A.M. and P.M. worship gatherings, but in the very least, we are reminded that we should meet regularly as a faith family to offer thanksgiving and praise to God. Another thing to notice here, is that although elsewhere in the Psalms, there are commands for fully orchestrated times of praise (Psalm 150), the three instruments listed here are small stringed instruments that would be much more conducive to an intimate, more personal setting. God calls us to both types of gatherings…loud, boisterous praise…and quiet, thoughtful worship.

Vs. 4-5 gives an answer to the question “Why give thanks in this way?”

“For You, O LORD, have made me glad by Your work; at the works of Your hands I sing for joy. How great are Your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep.”

I love this truth! When God saves us, joy in Him follows!! Through His Word and by the Holy Spirit we are able to rejoice in His activity and pursue the riches of who He is. (Ephesians 1:17-23)

Here’s where Psalm 92 turns a corner. I am tempted to stop here, but the psalmist doesn’t do that. The rest of the hymn contrasts differences between those who belong to God and those who don’t. These verses speak for themselves.

“The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever; but You, O LORD, are on high forever. For behold, Your enemies, O LORD, for behold, Your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered. But You have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; You have poured over me fresh oil. My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (Psalm 92:6-15 ESV)

Evil will be present, even when the church gathers to worship. But take heart, evil will be short lived and God’s work among His people is ongoing and everlasting!

As I wrap this up, let me speak personally.  Trinity, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galations 6:9 ESV) What God is building here is eternal. It WILL last and those who stand against Him will not. As me and my family move into this season of Thanksgiving, we are thanking God for what He is doing in our midst and for allowing us to be a part of Trinity Baptist Church.

Just remember, “…It is good to give thanks to the LORD…”