Theme: Three Important Statements
From this week’s lessons, we see the need for the righteous to praise God continually.
Scripture: Psalm 92:1-15
In Psalm 92, the psalmist states three things about those who truly know and worship God.
1. They will flourish like a palm tree and grow strong like a cedar of Lebanon (vv. 12, 13). This was true of Moses in a physical sense, for although he lived to be one hundred twenty years old, “yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone” (Deut. 34:7). Not all are blessed with physical strength to the end of their lives, of course. David became feeble in his old age. But that is not what these verses are about primarily. They are talking about what we would call “strength in the Lord,” that is, spiritual strength. It is what Paul was writing about when he said, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). That is an internal, spiritual strength that only those who have grown old walking with Jesus and trusting Jesus know. It goes beyond all merely human understanding.
2. They will be fruitful even into old age. Not only will believers such as this be spiritually strong, they will be fruitful, too (v. 14). That is, they will testify to the greatness and goodness of God, and God will use their testimonies to bring others to faith in Jesus Christ. When we are young, we are often caught up with this world’s concerns and miss many opportunities to bear fruit for our Lord. But as we grow old and the time when we shall meet him face to face and give an accounting for the deeds done in the body grows ever closer, we focus our strength and make our more limited energies count all the more strongly for him.
3. Their testimony will remain firm to the very end of their lives. Finally, says the psalmist, the righteous will maintain their testimony to the very end, proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him” (v. 15). J. J. Stewart Perowne says, “The flourishing of the workers of iniquity has been but for a moment (vv. 7, 9, 11); the joy and prosperity of the righteous is forever.”1
At this point the psalm comes full circle, ending on the idea of the righteous praising God. It has been introduced as a song “for the Sabbath day.” So let me combine these ideas, asking, if you cannot praise God on the Lord’s Day, if you find it tedious and troublesome, how are you going to keep on doing it into old age?
Earlier I spoke of Moses, whose “eye was not weak, nor his strength gone” (Deut. 34:7), even though he lived to be one hundred twenty years old. He praised God in his old age, finishing the last book of the Pentateuch with both a song and a sermon (Deut. 32-33). Jacob also praised God in his old age. In fact, what he spoke in his old age was probably the most spiritual and helpful words he ever uttered (Gen. 49). Joseph too gave a strong old-age testimony. He spoke of God’s sovereignty, telling his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Gen. 50:20). Paul wrote some of his most helpful epistles not long before he died. The last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, was written from exile on the island of Patmos by John when he was a very old man.
Will that be your experience, assuming God will allow you to live so long? Will you be able to praise God then? Much of the answer depends on what you are willing to do now. What is your testimony now? Can you declare what the righteous of the Lord do at the end of Psalm 92? “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” I hope you will be able to say that, for it is a strong and very much needed testimony. Unfortunately, it is far from the kind of carping words I hear from not a few Christians today. Maybe they do not know God very well. Maybe they do not know how to praise him. Probably they need practice.
1J. J. Stewart Perowne, Commentary on the Psalms, 2 vols. in 1 (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1989), vol. 2, p. 181.
How is the believer like a palm tree?
What does it mean to be renewed inwardly day by day?
Why are the faithful of older age called fruitful?
Reflection: What is your testimony now? Will it point you toward endless vitality in old age? Is it one of praise and trust in the Lord?
Prayer: Pray for the elderly Christians you know, that they would be encouraged and strengthened for the work God has for them to do.
Application: Think about an older, godly person after whom you could model your life. What characteristics would you like to see in your own life? Ask God to help you grow.
For Further Study: Order your copy of James Boice’s three-volume set covering all 150 Psalms, and take 25% off the regular price.